Sunday, 22 July, 2018

France beat Belgium 1-0 to reach final

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
Charles Bowen | 11 July, 2018, 03:05

Fox Sport Asia: "This should be a very intriguing match-up given the depth of talent that these two teams have".

A picture of Hazard and two of his three brothers, Thorgan and Kylian, has surfaced showing the Belgian trio wearing France shirts as children, and Hazard admitted that he grew up favouring France over Belgium because of the former's 1998 World Cup success.

France controlled the early tempo of the game but Belgium had more possession in the earlier stages. He did not play in the final at the Stade de France, but was in the team which won the European Championship final against Italy two years later in Rotterdam.

From dreaming of a first World Cup final, Belgium will now have to be content with a playoff for third place, but Martinez said he was proud of his players and would do all he could to get them ready for their final match of the tournament.

"We played together as team-mates and he was much younger and I was at the end of my career".

"I'm pleased for him, he's someone I really appreciate", Deschamps said.

Both teams had ample chances in a wide-open first half, with Hugo Lloris coming up especially big on a Toby Alderweireld chance that appeared goal-bound to keep Belgium off the board. "On the personal front it is with great pleasure that I'm going to see him tomorrow". "I felt we started the second-half with a better tempo and were growing into the game when we conceded from a corner".

More news: Twelfth person rescued from Thai cave on third day of operation

Samuel Umtiti's 51st-minute header sent an impressive France into the World Cup final with a 1-0 win over Belgium in an absorbing first semi-final on Tuesday.

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

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.

Nacer Chadli deputised for the suspended Thomas Muenier at right wing-back, allowing Moussa Dembele to join the midfield. 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. Will they do something similar against us?

Oleffe would only say: "For me honestly, the best team must win, nothing else".

France have no such selection issues and are nearly certain to stick with Stuttgart's Benjamin Pavard at right back after a string of impressive displays from the 22-year-old have made him one of the tournament's stand-out defenders.

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