France Through to World Cup Final Thanks to Samuel Umtiti Goal

27-year-old looks like a man on a mission to bring the WC trophy for the first time in the country’s history

27-year-old looks like a man on a mission to bring the WC trophy for the first time in the country’s history

For the generation of Hazard, De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, beating Brazil in the quarter-finals was meant to be the breakthrough on the way to winning a major tournament for the first time.

But standing in their way is Deschamps' France who are looking to venture into their third World Cup final in 20 years.

Centre-back Samuel Umtiti's 51st-minute header from a corner gave France a 1-0 win, as they defended deep to close it out and reach a third World Cup final. The French lost in the 2006 World Cup final and won the 1998 World Cup.

France conceded three in their round-of-16 tie against Argentina and their last meeting with Belgium, in 2015, ended in a 4-3 defeat - this fixture has a history of goals.

For all its possession, Belgium - the top scorers in this competition - were unable to break a robust French defense and will rue not capitalizing on its dominant first-half display. It also has to be said that his time-wasting antics at the end of the game - which came on the heels of a pathetic dive in the quarterfinal win over Uruguay - were unnecessary and immature; at 19, Mbappe is the youngest remaining player at the World Cup.

With 10 minutes to go and time running out for Belgium, they were certainly unlucky not to win a free-kick after Olivier Giroud brings Hazard to ground but the ref waved for the match to continue.

Belgium will depend upon Martinez's match awareness, Henry's experience as a French legend and the ability of their players to overcome a strong French side in the first semi-final.

Whether Mbappe scores again in Russian Federation remains to be seen but another goal for the tournament's breakthrough star in Sunday's final will only further cement his status as the next superstar of world football.

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Belgium's Thomas Meunier will miss the game after picking up a second yellow card but France will be buoyed by the return of defensive midfielder Blaise Matuidi, after sitting out a suspension of his own.

I don't expect either side to sit back and play negative.

Belgium continued to throw men forward as they chased an equalising goal but the defence from Les Bleus was standing firm. The attitude of the players was brilliant and we couldn't ask for anymore.

As Griezmann floated in the ball from the corner, Samuel Umtiti ran away from his marker, out-jumped the much taller Marouane Fellaini and headed in, sending the French crowd behind the goal into delirium in the 51st minute. Two goals were enough for both semifinalist to get them here.

Deadly duo: Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann have scored six of France's nine goals between them.

Belgium were seeking their first ever appearance in a World Cup final but will have to settle for the third/fourth-place play-off on Saturday.

Upon replay looked as if the Belgians had been withheld a legitimate free-kick opportunity as Giroud collected the front of Hazard's knees.

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