Published: Thu, July 12, 2018
Sports | By Juana Wells

Deschamps reveals why France beat Belgium in semi-final clash

Deschamps reveals why France beat Belgium in semi-final clash

France will face either Croatia or England, who play Wednesday at the Luzhniki Stadium in the Russian capital. France forward Antoine Griezmann shouted during the post-match celebrations.

Captain Eden Hazard dazzled in patches but Kevin De Bruyne was quiet and Romelu Lukaku was a shadow of the player he had been earlier in the tournament, even though Belgium enjoyed most of the possession.

Belgium was left Tuesday still clinging to the elusive ambition of reaching a first World Cup final.

The world now gets to see France's luxury squad, collectively valued in excess of $1 billion and headlined by teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe, in another major final.

Umtiti was drafted in for his worldwide debut to cover for Varane two years ago, and is determined not to suffer another disappointment in a final. France manager Didier Deschamps is on course to emulate Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer, the only duo to have won the World Cup both as a player and a coach.

Giroud did at least have a part to play in the decisive opener as, after his shot was deflected wide, Griezmann's corner was flicked in at the near post by Umtiti.

"It's me that scored", Umtiti said, "but we all delivered a big game".

"It's an awesome feeling [to be in the final] but we already lost a final two years ago and that's why we need to stay with our feet on the floor", he said. After all it was his delivery of the corner that led to the deciding goal by Samuel Umtiti. Benjamin Pavard and Raphael Varane scored in previous matches. The strategy for Belgium was, to go wide and send lots of crosses especially from Mertens. Varane, in particular, was outstanding.

"We faced a really good Belgium team, but we hurt them and we could have hurt them more if we had been more precise, but we were prepared for anything and we showed once again everything that is positive", commented Deschamps. And in surviving a barrage of second half attacks from Brazil to hold on for a 2-1 win in the quarterfinals. Kante in particular was vary of the threat that the Belgian skipper Eden Hazard posed to their goalmouth and in typical Kante fashion, shadowed his Chelsea teammate till the very end. His first touch was after 10 seconds and, after receiving the ball on the right wing, he sped past Jan Vertonghen and then Mousa Dembele in a thrilling run. "France are just an anti-football team".

"It's their right to play like that, but it's not nice to see".

"Belgian football has got a wealth of young talent coming through and in my role, I've got an eye on the Euros in 2020", said Red Devils coach Roberto Martinez, who signed a contract extension to take him through to 2020 just weeks before the tournament kicked off.

Belgium's Spanish coach Roberto Martinez, who aspired to be the first foreigner to guide a team to World Cup glory, faced his first competitive defeat in almost two years - at the altar of the game.

Instead of playing Sunday in Moscow for its first World Cup, Belgium will be back in St. Petersburg on Saturday, playing in the third-place match and wondering if its championship window has closed.

Along with the French and Gabonese presidents and the king and queen of Belgium, there was rock "n" roll royalty watching the game.

"It was a matter of details and one stood out".

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