Thursday, 16 August, 2018

Team effort needed to tame Belgium, says French keeper Lloris

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Cary Erickson | 15 July, 2018, 16:52

Umtiti's header was the flawless start to the second half for France, sending the blue fans into a frenzy.

There were, however, no easy rides in the knockout stages where the French had to show their full capability in beating Argentina, Uruguay and then Belgium 1-0 in Tuesday's semi-final at Saint Petersburg.

Umtiti took advantage of a lapse in defense to nod the ball past Thibaut Courtois via a slight deflection to give them a win in a tight but entertaining game, where one small detail made the difference.

"We need to get rid of this disappointment and I want to make sure we finish on a real high".

Captain Harry Kane is leading England's charge with six goals so far, putting him top in the race for the Golden Boot.

This match promised to be an explosive contest and, for periods, it was.

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.

France - winners in 1998, finalists in 2006 - went into the match as slight favorites. France's most exciting player, by contrast, is still a teenager.

Les Bleus own talented young squad are aiming to avenge their defeat on home soil to Portugal two years ago.

Kerber beats Serena in Wimbledon final
It was Williams' 10th final at the All England Club. "I didn't know I would have such, kind of, traumatic thoughts". A victory would give the 36-year-old Williams a 24th Grand Slam trophy and tie Margaret Court's all-time record.

Three of the five goals Belgium conceded were from dead-ball situations, but Martinez refused to admit that failure to prepare for defending set pieces was his team's undoing in Russian Federation.

Indeed, this defeat brought Belgium's 24-match unbeaten run to an end.

However, opposite number Hugo Lloris was relieved to see Hazard drag his shot across goal three minutes later after De Bruyne had opened up the French defence.

Against France, there was another surprise as Mousa Dembele started for only the second time at this competition. After a thrilling 3-2 win over Japan during the Round of 16, Belgium had their best game of the tournament during the quarter-finals, where they dispatched Brazil to the tune of a 2-1 win where Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku looked virtually unstoppable.

Born to two footballing parents in the Belgian municipality of Braine-le-Comte, Hazard's reputation spread across the border and saw him snapped up by Lille at the age of just 14.

From a Belgium corner, Toby Alderweireld tested Lloris with a smart shot on the turn but as the half progressed France began to create more.

Hazard was pulling the strings for Belgium, but the game ebbed and flowed as the first half progressed with Giroud the focus of France's attacks, putting a Mbappe cross wide when well-placed 11 minutes before the break.

Mbappe twice turned provider.