Kylian Mbappe went full Federation Internationale de Football Association in semi-final victory over Belgium

11 July, 2018, 09:51 | Author: Eloise Houston
  • France Belgium graphic

But Belgians will now wonder if they have seen the best chance for this talented generation of players to win a major worldwide title.

For the generation of Hazard, De Bruyne, and Romelu Lukaku, beating Brazil in the quarter-finals was meant to be the breakthrough en route to winning a major tournament.

But with their King Philippe watching from the stands, there was to be no coronation.

Belgium's returning first-team players made a sluggish start against the Samurai Blue and suddenly found themselves trailing by two goals with time ebbing away.

Centre-back Samuel Umtiti's 51st-minute header from a corner gave France a 1-0 win, as they defended deep to close it out and reach a third World Cup final.

"Because of the seven years I spent in France I feel 99 percent Belgian and one percent French, but the idea of taking French nationality never crossed my mind" Hazard once said when asked about the possibility.

Olivier Debregeas predicts France will beat Belgium 1-0.

But Belgium dominated possession throughout the match. No player in either side has taken more shots on target for either side than this duo (both on five), while Eden Hazard is the only player to take more touches in the opponents' penalty areas. "It was so painful two years ago we have to savor it".

In a tournament dominated by goals from set pieces, France's goal came off a corner when Griezmann curled in the ball from the right and Umtiti got in front of tall Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini to knock in his header at the near post. Belgium reached the quarterfinals at the 2014 World Cup and the European Championship in 2016 but has yet to fulfil its lofty expectations.

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France will face either Croatia or England in Sunday's final.

FW, Kevin De Bruyne, 6 - Offered a few glimpses of his talent but drifted out of the game and didn't create anything for a long time.

"Generations. Who talks about generations?"

"We know there are going to be hard moments and we'll have to be ready to suffer".

"It was a very tight game". We don't have the resources, the infrastructure, the money that other countries have.

"On paper, statistically we are a better team", Oleffe said of Belgium, and the numbers do seem to back him up.

Belgium held a full-squad training session ahead of the match at their World Cup base camp outside Moscow, while France head coach Didier Deschamps said that all his players were ready for the encounter.

Kompany, an injury-prone 32-year-old who may well have played his last World Cup in Russian Federation, believes that, despite the loss, the class of 2018 has done his nation a favor.

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