France reaches 2018 FIFA World Cup Final with win over Belgium

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"Belgian football has a wealth of young talent coming through", said Martinez looking to the future.

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. He was part of Belgium's coaching staff at three World Cups, including 1986, when they finished fourth.

While Les Bleus prepare to face either England or Croatia for the sport's biggest prize, Belgium must compete in the third-place playoff Saturday having suffered a first defeat in almost two years. "We want to finish this tournament in the best possible way", said captain Hugo Lloris after another series of heroic saves on Tuesday.

This match promised to be an explosive contest and, for periods, it was.

"We have spent 49 days together: who could believe we are now in the final of the World Cup". No, I play at [Manchester] City.

France will play England or Croatia in the final at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday, July 15, in FIFA World Cup 2018 Russian Federation final.

Three of the five goals Belgium conceded were from dead-ball situations, but Martinez refused to admit that failure to prepare for defending set pieces was his team's undoing in Russian Federation. It was unexpected, and it outfoxed the Brazilians.

France's timing is good, too. The Blues covered the -0.5 spread, while the game went well under 2.5 goals.

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Lloris' full-length dive kept out a first-time strike from Tottenham colleague Toby Alderweireld, while Courtois reacted quickly to block Benjamin Pavard's attempt from a tight angle at the other end. In the first half, they had their best opportunities to score but Lloris came up huge in keeping them off the scoresheet.

France, like Belgium, had looked exhausted and could be there for the taking.

Giroud has not scored in eight games is not panicking just yet.

Goal scorer Umtiti said the win had come on the back of the work of the entire team. Then, in the 51st minute, Samuel Umtiti found Antoine Greizmann's corner and outjumped Marouane Fellaini to head the ball into the net for the 1-0 lead.

If Hazard dazzled the brightest in the opening 45 minutes, Mbappe flourished in the second period.

With Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Neymar no longer in Russia, Eden Hazard and Mbappe have taken over as the stars of the World Cup and there was a buzz every time either got the ball.

In a match where it had only 39% of possession, France's unyielding defense proved to be the difference.

That said, I must admit that I don't think the Red Devils deserved to win yesterday.

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