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France beat Belgium 1-0 to reach final

11 July 2018

Belgium reached the quarterfinals at the 2014 World Cup and the European Championship in 2016 but has yet to fulfil its lofty expectations.

France and Belgium meet in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday night to decide who will become the first finalists at the 2018 World Cup.

"Vive la France! Vive la Republique!"

France booked their place in the semi-final with a comfortable 2-0 win over Uruguay, while Belgium's route here saw them defeat five-time winners Brazil in the quarters. "France are used to these big games but we coped with that side really well".

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.

They certainly hope to keep the party going on Sunday in the final in Moscow.

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Samuel Umtiti's second-half header edged a tight contest in Saint Petersburg in France's favour, meaning it will be bronze at best for Belgium's golden generation at Russian Federation 2018. Eight of England's ten World Cup goals have been from dead balls, while Croatia have conceded three times from set-piece situations. They are trained by Didier Deschamps, who won the Cup in 1998 as a player and is now trying to do the same as a coach. With the array of talent on display in Didier Deschamps' team, expectations had been high that France would arrive in Russian Federation and treat us to a display of dazzling Francophone soccer, courtesy of decorated stars like Griezmann, Pogba, Giroud, and Mbappe'. Henry may have a confined role, but he is part of an admired coaching team, led by Martinez, who have been tactically dynamic in the tournament, sometimes in adversity, as when substitutions rescued a 2-0 deficit against Japan; sometimes very proactively, when some radical changes, in formation and deployment of key players, underpinned a famous victory, against Brazil in the last eight. His goal against Argentina, in the 4-3 win that marked the moment France truly arrived at World Cup 2018, is one of the strongest contenders in an exceptional "Goal of the Tournament" field and he has a notable record to try and maintain.

France's football-loving President Emmanuel Macron and Belgian King Philippe were watching from the stands, along with Rolling Stones front-man Sir Mick Jagger.

Despite Belgium's formidable firepower, France did an impressive job of limiting the chances of Roberto Martinez's team. The 25-year-old Varane has been does well in Russian Federation, scoring the first goal against Uruguay with a header.

But he's a more one-dimensional threat than Hazard. His first touch was after 10 seconds and, after receiving the ball on the right wing, he sped past Jan Vertonghen and then Mousa Dembele in a thrilling run.

"At the time, there wasn't the jersey of Belgium, that's why we wore the one of France". Mbappe has Algerian-Cameroonian roots. "Of course, it is a hard situation, it really is not easy for him", said Deschamps. Meunier's suspension will be a matter of concern for the Belgians, however.

If you don't have cable, you can still watch the World Cup for free with a digital antenna, which costs around $30.

France beat Belgium 1-0 to reach final