Jose Mourinho stresses cause for English optimism after Russian Federation 2018 campaign

As France take on Belgium in WC semis French media goes gaga over Asterix vs Tintin rivalry

Jose Mourinho stresses cause for English optimism after Russian Federation 2018 campaign

Les Bleus defeated Belgium 1-0 thanks to Samuel Umtiti, who scored the duel's only goal on the 51st minute, from which Belgium just couldn't recover.

Paul Pogba, Romelu Lukaku, Marouane Fellaini, Jesse Lingard, Phil Jones, Marcus Rashford and Ashley Young are all set to return to the club in the final weeks before their opening Premier League game against Leicester City on August 10 as a result of their countries making it to the final weekend of the World Cup.

The France midfielder took to Twitter shortly after France beat Belgium late Tuesday to advance to the World Cup final. "They played on the counter-attack with (Kylian) Mbappe, who is very quick".

But World Cups are special events, with a possible seven games in a month compressing development in a short space of time, and Pogba has grown as France has progressed. "I'm very happy for my players, we showed character and the right mentality, it was very hard for us tonight". France's goalkeeper also made two key saves to add to some similar heroics in the previous rounds but looked to play down his individual performance.

"We have prepared well, I can brag a little about that", laughed Deschamps after securing a place in Sunday's final in Moscow against either Croatia or England.

England's unexpected journey in Russian Federation came to an end in the semi-finals as Mario Mandzukic sealed a 2-1 victory in extra-time to break English hearts in Moscow.

"There is still a big step left, so we need to focus again. Maybe that's because they are quite young and have their careers still in front of them".

"So for them to go back to their country and take a nation like Croatia to the World Cup final is something incredible". "It's more of a team, a collective instead of a group gathered around a genius".

Perhaps because of his club issues, he also struggled to make an impact in France's opening game in the World Cup, even prompting the call from the French fans and media for him to be dropped, which is probably what had him mulling over his global future. Over the course of the World Cup, however, some of those pressing issues seem to have been solved.

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