20 years after winning as host, France has qualified for the finals of the World Cup, defeating Belgium by 0ne goal to nil in the first semi-final match played at the Saint Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg in Russia. France who have won all three of their previous meetings with Belgium at major tournaments, including two World Cup encounters extended their impressive record against the Red Devils at the Saint-Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday to reach their third World Cup final.
After a cagey first half with little to choose between the two sides, Barcelona defender Umtiti put Les Blues in the lead early in the second period with a fine header off Griezmann’s corner. Belgium fought back bravely but could not find the breakthrough during an exciting evening in St Petersburg where Hugo Lloris was monumental as he kept out the Red Devils. On their part, France showed another side to their game, looking more confident and were able to see out the lead.
Didier Deschamps leads France to Moscow for the finals against the winner between Croatia and England, while Belgium awaits the losers in the third-place match.
13′ Pogba aims a searching long pass towards Mbappe who breezes past Kompany and Vertonghen but he can’t reach the ball before Courtois races off his line and jumps on it.
15′ Hazard scurrying into the left-hand side of the French box and firing low and hard beyond the far post.
18′ Matuidi has a blast from nearly 20 yards but straight at Courtois.
19′ Hazard collects the ball near the corner flag, then darts past Pavard and shoots but his fizzing effort is headed a yard over the bar by Varane!
21′ Alderwerield swivels and shoots from 14 yards but Lloris hurls himself across goal to tip the ball around the post.
31′ Pavard crosses into the area from the right for Giroud has to lean backwards and twist his neck in an inventive way to guide a header close to the target.
39′ Mbappé puts Pavard one-on-one with Courtois but he aims for the far corner but the keeper gets a crucial touch to the low shot with his foot!
45′ Umtiti attempts to cut De Bruyne’s delivery but succeeds only in diverting it towards Lukaku who is too surprised and the ball bounces off the striker and dribbles wide.
49′ Olivier Giroud turns and sees his shot deflected off target by Vincent Kompany
51′ GOAL! France 1-0 Belgium. Umtiti outjumps Fellaini to head in at the near post from a corner by Griezmann.
56′ Mbappe plays in Giroud with an outrageous backheeled pass. Dembéle blocks the striker’s shot.
62′ De Bruyne tries to smash a dropping ball from 16 yards but he’s under pressure and doesn’t catch his volley well.
64′ Mertens cross again from the right. Fellaini beats Umtiti to it but heads a yard wide from 12 yards.