World Cup 2018: Pragmatic France defeats Belgium in First Semis

Samuel Umtiti, the French defender, scored the winner in the second half with a powerful header from the corner taken by Antoine Griezmann. France is now in the finals of a World Cup for only the 3rd time in their history. The last time that France headed to the World Cup final was back in 2006 in which they lost to Italy on penalties.
Belgium went into the semifinals after an impressive defeat of Brazil. Unfortunately, they were simply unable to get past Hugo Lloris. Lloris not only deflected Witsel’s powerful drive from long range but also shut off Alderweireld’s brilliant shot.
There are several talking points about this game. 20 years ago in 1998, France won its first and only World Cup title. That team was captained by Didier Deschamps who is now on the verge of leading another French team to glory, this time as a manager. If he does so, he will only be the third person to win the World Cup as a player and as a manager. Before him, there has been Mario Zagallo of Brazil and Franz Beckenbauer of Germany.
While France certainly managed to hold off Belgium, who has been simply phenomenal in this tournament, their performance was not well received by all quarters. The style they adopted was functional and without any flair whatsoever. In fact, they stayed in their own half and played defensively for most of the half. Even after they had scored the goal, they refused to take any risks whatsoever, remaining content with rebuffing the advances of Belgium. The style certainly got on the nerves of the Belgian players, some of whom even claimed that France was not playing good football.
However, nobody can fault their win. France’s counterattack created some impressive moments. Mbappe, the talented youngster, remained a threat as expected with his incredible speed.
As for Belgium, their golden generation was unable to take things any further. They certainly gave their best shot but suffered disappointment nonetheless at the end.


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