RT special World Cup host Jose Mourinho has accused Belgium's players of "hiding" but heaped praise on France midfielder Paul Pogba, who helped his side reach the 2018 World Cup final by virtue of a 1-0 win in St Petersburg.
Speaking from an RT studio in Manchester, Mourinho admitted he "smelled a match without many goals" and that the game could have stayed at 0-0 or even 1-1. Les Bleus topped Group C without really convincing, but knockout-stage wins over Argentina and Uruguay have enhanced their credentials as serious contenders.
Didier Deschamps tweaked his formation, effectively freeing up Kylian Mbappe on the right to run at the Argentine defence, and what followed was a wonderful display of attacking football that France won 4-3. All you need to do is find your local Fox station to watch the France vs. Belgium game for free in English, or find Telemundo to watch and listen to the match in Spanish (complete with the "Gooooooooooaal!" call every time someone scores). No player in either side has taken more shots on target for either side than this duo (both on five), while Eden Hazard is the only player to take more touches in the opponents' penalty areas.
And Lloris said at a pre-match press conference streamed on FIFA's official website: "They are an exhaustive team, they know how to do everything". Dembele had been totting up fouls all over the pitch and Roberto Martinez was definitely thinking about a change in his midfield at this point.
The France vs Belgium semi-final game will be played on July 10, Tuesday at 11:30 pm India time. He said after that match that there he was disappointed that they were done in by a set-piece.
Those sentiments were echoed by goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who said: 'France have played anti-football.
Both sides had plenty of chances, with France taking 19 shots to Belgium's nine, but only Umtiti's 51st-minute header following Antoine Griezmann's corner found the back of the net.
Deschamps now has the chance to become the third person to win the World Cup as a player and a coach, after Germany great Franz Beckenbauer and Brazil's Mario Zagallo. Matuidi had to be subbed off after a sickening collision with Hazard.
Belgium was left still clinging to the elusive ambition of reaching a first World Cup final. Then, he's often terrific at not just winning balls, but also sending France's attack in the other direction quickly. Belgium brought on the likes of Dries Mertens and loaded the box.
For the die-hard France fans, there's one twist that makes this semifinal convincing. Benjamin Pavard and Raphael Varane scored in previous matches.
The goal, which came in the 51st minute, arrived from an unlikely source with Umtiti outmuscling the monumental Marouane Fellaini to head in a Griezmann corner from the right. This tournament marks the culmination of a "golden generation" for the Belgians, featuring a roster replete with stars like Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.