France reaches World Cup final with victory over Belgium

France Belgium graphic

Let's assume though that it won't finish 0-0. One where the stakes will be extremely high between two attacking-minded sides.

Samuel Umtiti's 51st-minute header sent an impressive France into the World Cup final with a 1-0 win over Belgium in an absorbing first semi-final on Tuesday.

Maybe Belgium will have a trick up their sleeves against their European rivals?

France booked their place in the World Cup final thanks to a Samuel Umtiti headed goal from a corner in the 51st minute to edge out a courageous Belgian side.

France coach Didier Deschamps has recalled Blaise Matuidi in the only change to his lineup for the World Cup semifinal against Belgium at St. Petersburg Stadium.

"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. I'm the T3, the third coach.

"I am perfectly ready and fit and I can say the same for my teammates". There was nowhere near as much on the line in that match, which was contested for third place in the tournament.

An unbelievably disciplined defensive showing from the French team left a talented, attacking Belgium team with few options.

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I think he's set to be the next big superstar as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are coming to the end of their careers. After ousting Brazil in the semis, Belgium go into their match up against France high in confidence.

Grant Wahl has covered soccer for 22 years at Sports Illustrated.

Both sides are no mugs defensively, but they have each made a habit out of conceding as this tournament has progressed. It's going to be a thrilling match no doubt and don't be surprised if this one ends up going the full distance. Then he scored the decisive goal in Belgium's 2-1 victory over Brazil in the quarterfinals with a searing, low shot into the far corner of the net from the edge of the penalty area.

Roberto Martinez's surprise 4-3-3 was just insane enough to confuse the Brazil defence throughout the first half of their quarter-final, which puts them in a strong position to do something similar on the counter-attack against France - particularly through the middle.

France overcame two South American teams in the form of Argentina and Uruguay in the knockout stages to reach the semi-finals while Belgium came from behind to beat Japan before getting a famous win over Brazil to get to this stage.

'That is football. What they do, they do well.

"We had a training session of less than 45 minutes in which we understood everything the coach wanted, which is a tight defence that would force Brazil to open spaces for us, and this what happened especially in the first half".

Belgium, who have never won a major tournament, impressed in Russian Federation - knocking out Brazil in the quarter-finals - but fell short against a solid French side.

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