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Francia - Bélgica

1-0: Varane's France book World Cup final spot

NEWS | 10/07/2018

The French overcame Belgium and will now face Croatia in the final.
We now know the first finalists at the Russia World Cup, with a madridista featuring amongst their ranks in the shape of Raphaël Varane. The central defender once again led the French backline from start to finish as France prepare for the tournament's showpiece after prevailing over Belgium in a very hard-fought semi-final encounter. The outcome of this contest was decided from a set piece right after the restart, with Samuel Umtiti heading home from a corner. France will now square off against a Croatia side containing Modric and Kovacic.

The opening stages saw both teams trade the upper hand. Belgium began on the front foot, with firstly Kevin De Bruyne and then Eden Hazard squandering opportunities to put their side in front. France then stepped things up, with Antoine Griezmann trying his luck from range and Benjamin Pavard denied when clean through, with the goalkeepers also staking their claim for a moment in the limelight.

On to the final
What proved to be the winning goal came shortly after the restart, Umtiti nodding home a 51st-minute corner which left the Belgians shell-shocked. Blaise Matuidi and Olivier Giroud had the chances to double France's advantage soon after. However, Belgium weren't finished just yet and Marouane Fellaini came close to equalising with a headed effort. Roberto Martínez's charges sought to force extra time as they sent a number of crosses into the box, but the French rearguard action, led by Varane were up to the challenge. In injury time, France had the chance to double their lead but no further goals were ultimately forthcoming as the French secured their place in the showpiece.

1-France: Lloris, Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Lucas, Pogba, Kante, Matuidi (Tolisso, 86’), Mbappé, Griezmann, Giroud (Nzonzi, 85’).
0-Belgium: Courtois, Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen, Witsel, Dembele (Mertens, 60’), Fellaini (Carrasco, 80’), Chadli (Batshuayi, 91'), De Bruyne, Hazard and Lukaku.

1-0: (min. 51): Umtiti.