SAINT PETERSBURG: Samuel Umtiti headed France into the World Cup remaining in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday with a 1-Zero win, consigning Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ to one other bitter disappointment.
France’s personal supremely proficient younger squad will purpose to make amends for defeat on residence soil within the remaining of Euro 2016 in Sunday’s showpiece towards England or Croatia. In a World Cup replete with set-piece objectives, a nook once more proved decisive when Umtiti timed his run completely to meet Antoine Griezmann’s supply six minutes into the second half.
France had been grateful for fantastic saves from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris both facet of half-time. Belgium’s Kevin De Bruyne warned Kylian Mbappe was prepared to take the world by storm on the eve of the sport and the costliest teenager within the historical past of soccer confirmed why inside the primary 60 seconds.
He skipped previous Jan Vertonghen with ease and solely a last-ditch sort out by Vincent Kompany prevented Griezmann from latching onto his cross. Thibaut Courtois rushed from his objective simply in time to save Vertonghen once more from Mbappe’s tempo on 12 minutes, nevertheless it was Belgium who began the higher in possession.
One of many Pink Devils’ many French connections was the most important hazard as Eden Hazard, who started his profession with Lille in Ligue 1, pulled the primary try of objective simply past the far submit. The Chelsea ahead’s subsequent effort was arrowing into the highest nook till it flicked off Raphael Varane’s head and deflected simply over.
Lloris and Courtois performed an enormous half their sides’ quarter-final wins and it was solely thanks to two of one of the best ‘keepers in the world the game remained goalless at half-time. First, Lloris flew to his right to turn Toby Alderweireld’s shot on the flip behind.
On the different finish, Mbappe demonstrated the subtler facet to his sport to play in Benjamin Pavard, however Courtois used his large 6ft 5ins (199 centimetre) body to deny the Stuttgart full-back his second objective of the match. Didier Deschamps’ males ended the opening interval on high, however once more Olivier Giroud seemed in need of confidence as the point of interest of the French assault. Giroud has not scored in eight video games and is but to actually have a shot on track in Russia.
His greatest probability arrived by way of extra good work from Mbappe with a cushioned cross, however the Chelsea striker might solely slice horribly broad on his favoured left foot. Giroud did a minimum of have a component to play within the decisive opener as, after his shot was deflected broad, Griezmann’s nook was flicked in on the close to submit by Umtiti.
As soon as in entrance, France had much more area to exploit Mbappe’s tempo, nevertheless it was an imposing piece of talent that just about created a second with a backheel that once more freed Giroud just for Mousa Dembele to block.
Roberto Martinez launched an additional attacker in Dries Mertens in an try to flip the tide and he almost had an instantaneous influence as his cross was headed inches broad by Marouane Fellaini.
That was as shut as Belgium got here to taking the sport to extra-time, although, as Lloris parried a long-range piledriver from Axel Witsel. However for Courtois, France’s margin of victory would have been even larger as he made saves from Griezmann and Corentin Tolisso in stoppage time.
For the technology of Hazard, De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku, beating Brazil within the quarter-finals was meant to be the breakthrough on route to profitable a serious match. As a substitute, it proved to be one other false daybreak as France march on to Moscow.