Umtiti header sends France into World Cup final

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The connections between the two national team setups have become increasingly apparent in the two barren days between the last quarterfinal and the start of the last four. The French team has one star on their jerseys to commemorate their World Cup victory in 1998. The same could be said for Belgium, or any other opponent France have faced, but there is only so much that can be done to prevent Kante from doing what he does best - stopping his opponents, snapping at their heels, covering every blade of grass. He was their leading scorer in the World Cup when the country won its first and only world title as host nation in 1998, despite not being a regular starter and only 20 years old at the time.

Alex Keble picks out key tactical battles from the two World Cup semi-finals, predicting goals galore in Belgium v France and England to reach the final.

"Yes, it is weird, because he is French and that he will be on the bench of the opposition", Didier Deschamps said on Sunday morning on French television.

Belgium threw everything they could muster at the French but were unable to really test Lloris, aside from one speculative long range effort from Axel Witsel. "I was injured several times and that was not easy".


However, Umtiti popped up with the game's telling moment early in the second half, nodding the ball home to score his third global goal.

"The feeling after scoring that goal was unbelievable, but then so was the feeling after the match against Brazil". "We've strived to be as good as we could be at the worldwide level and it's taken us two years to get there. But there haven't been one or two secrets to make it work, it's been common sense", he said.

Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger has got people talking over his allegedly "sour" and "seedy" appearance when spotted in the stands enjoying the World Cup semi-final match between France and Belgium.

Eden Hazard pushing for an equaliser.


"It's essential to have a player like Kevin, that he can play different roles", Martinez said. "That's the quality that he has".

There will be plenty of exciting attacking talent on show when France face Belgium, which should make for an eventful encounter. Chadli could play as a right wing-back for Belgium in the absence of the suspended Thomas Meunier, with Thomas Vermaelen possibly starting. The one thing missing for this French squad is an global title. "We don't want to have them taking the mickey out of us". When I was playing against Monaco, he had played only about 10 matches.

Romelu Lukaku (Belgium) v Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti (France) France have conceded only three goals on the way to the semi-finals, and the central defensive pair snuffed out the attacking threat of Luis Suarez in the quarter-final against Uruguay, barely allowing him a touch in the penalty area.

In 29 matches for France, both in the underage sides and the seniors, Pavard has not lost a game. With the win, Les Bleus have secured a ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final in Moscow.


The team will take the victor of England or Croatia in the final, with those two playing on Wednesday. With the sides hard to separate on paper, how they handle the pressure, and perhaps those little nuggets of inside knowledge, could make all the difference.

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