Martinez reveals only thing that made France defeat Belgium

World Cup Expansive Belgium versus pragmatic France could decide the 2018 champions

Martinez reveals only thing that made France defeat Belgium

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.

France, the 1998 champions, will face either England or Croatia in Sunday's final at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

Confidence is sky-high after they ousted Neymar's Brazil in the quarter-finals but they will come up against formidable opponents in France as they try to reach a first ever World Cup final.

France's other hero was goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who made a spectacular fingertip save in the first half to deny Toby Alderweireld and then kept out Alex Witsel's drive as Belgium cranked up the pressure towards the end of the match. "Finals have to be won because we have still not got over the one we lost two years ago", said Deschamps. "I think Raheem Sterling is an important player because he is fast and unsafe alongside Harry Kane", Dalic said. We can be very happy and lucky that we can have the team what we have. "He has grown in the team, he's an expressive player and his performance only increases his importance to the side".

He refused to be drawn on comparisons between the successful squad of 20 years ago and the current crop, instead focusing on his desire to write a "new page" in the country's footballing history.

Yet another all Premier League battle, a result of the majority of Belgium's likely starting XI plying their trade in England.

Kevin De Bruyne has called France a defensive team but says that Les Bleus' tactics did not annoy him.

It was a fascinating first half and all that was missing was a goal but one came soon after the break. "It is true we did not see too much of Messi when he played against us".

French coach and former World Cup-winning captain Didier Deschamps singled out Chelsea's N'golo Cante as the player who can and will make life hard for the Red Devils, as he did for Argentina's talisman Lionel Messi in the round of 16.

"We had more chances today, we had more control of the match", Kompany said. Marouane Fellaini's brace and a strike from Radja Nainggolan earned Belgium a 3-0 lead before Mathieu Valbuena pulled back one. "It is played on small margins and we will have no opportunity to lose concentration.Tomorrow is another step, and it is going to be an important step for all our careers".

"This team is nowhere near the level they're going to be capable of, partly because of their age and partly because over the next few years, with us and with their clubs, they're going to have more and more big-match experiences. So maybe for the future we've still done something good for Belgian football".

Croatia defender Dejan Lovren believes his exhausted team are ready to seize the opportunity of a lifetime.

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