France beat Belgium to reach final in Russian Federation

Hugo Lloris expects Thierry Henry to have mixed emotions when France meet Belgium in Tuesday's World Cup semi-final

Hugo Lloris expects Thierry Henry to have mixed emotions when France meet Belgium in Tuesday's World Cup semi-final

But with so-called favourites already eliminated in Germany, Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Portugal, the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup is panning out to be a story of the underdogs.

Previous results: In group play, defeated Australia, 2-1; defeated Peru, 1-0; tied Denmark, 0-0. At least until one of them, by a thin, necessarily brilliant margin, found a way through.

Samuel Umtiti scored the victor.

France Defender Samuel Umtiti scored the winning goal with a powerful header past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the 51st minute. The team will take the victor of England or Croatia in the final, with those two playing on Wednesday. Les Bleus will however be buoyed by the return of Blaise Matuidi, after sitting out a suspension of his own.

Because France isn't a country of middle grounds-especially not when it comes to soccer.

Asked what Macron said, Mbappe replied: "President Macron said that he would see us in the semifinals, and that he was going to come back to see us with the World Cup". Zidane was sent off in what was his final match.

This version of the team, so stacked with young talent, could have broken either way.

Belgium's Romelu Lukaku and France's Kylian Mbappe will face off in the World Cup semifinal. And it was just as possible to picture Les Bleus falling apart under their unpopular manager Didier Deschamps.

Right after changeover, Griezmann floated a vicious inswinging corner that Samuel Umtiti attacked and buried into the net with a bullet header, holding off Maorouanne Fellaini's physical challenge.

That's because coach Roberto Martinez believes the Manchester City midfielder is such a talented player, he could start virtually anywhere on the field and he'd excel. The red-clad Belgians hardly knew what to make of it. "They're good in the air and on the ground". They stared at each other-how had this happened?

"I think the Belgian team is the most exhaustive team in all aspects of the game during this tournament - they are strong everywhere", Lloris told reporters earlier this week.

Not only did majority speak a common language, but 14 of the 22 starters on Tuesday night also played in the English Premier League, with Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur represented in both blue and red jerseys.

Belgium is now ranked No. 3 in the world by Federation Internationale de Football Association, while France is ranked No. 7. Fun was not a word the two sets of supporters might have used. For France, this is the sixth time it has made it to this stage-and it's the first since 2006.

Once ahead, France locked down, robbing the Red Devils' star names of space to pick through in the final third, grinding down the clock - while looking to strike on the counter - until their place in the Moscow finale was confirmed.

Given how the voting usually goes, he nearly surely won't win the player of the tournament award, but he deserves more consideration, especially if France lifts the trophy on Sunday. The one thing missing for this French squad is an worldwide title.

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