http://www.thetricolour.com/

Umtiti heads France into the Final

Umtiti heads France into the Final

  • France book their place in their first World Cup Final for 12 years
  • Umtiti header sees of Belgium in well-fought encounter
  • Les Bleus to face England or Croatia on 15 July

Samuel Umtiti's headed winner has returned France to the FIFA World Cup Final for the third time in 20 years, sealing a 1-0 win over Belgium in Saint Petersburg.

The first half saw chances at either end, with Belgium captain Eden Hazard going close before Hugo Lloris and Thibaut Courtois denied Toby Alderweireld and Benjamin Pavard respectively to ensure the opening period ended all square.

Having seen the best chances come from defenders, it was apt that a centre-half opened the scoring. After Raphael Varane performed heroics in the quarter-finals against Uruguay, this time it was Umtiti, stealing a march on his man to meet Antoine Griezmann's corner at the near post and flick a header beyond Thibaut Courtois.

Once ahead, France locked down, robbing the Red Devils' star names of space to pick through in the final third, grinding down the clock - while looking to strike on the counter - until their place in the Moscow finale was confirmed.

Team reporter analysis
Adrien Gingold, with France Follow on Twitter
France continue their brilliant showing as they avoided falling into Belgium's trap. After the Red Devils had dominated the first half, largely thanks to an awesome Eden Hazard, France took responsibility and controlled the match in the second. Didier Deschamps's team has many faces to it, but they are all smiling now.

Simon Massart, Belgium Follow: Twitter
Having a collection of great players individually does not guarantee anything. France and Belgium both have those resources but the former clearly managed get the most of them in a collective fashion. When the goalkeepers are having a good day, the defence is organised and the rest of the players are very focused, the difference is often just a few small moments. Samuel Umtiti was that difference today. The Red Devils did not manage to find any holes in the French defensive wall when they needed to most.

Gallery: France 1-0 Belgium
1 / 40 Gallery: France 1-0 Belgium
1 / 40 Gallery: France 1-0 Belgium
Gallery: France 1-0 Belgium
1 / 40 Belgium v France: Samuel Umtiti of France celebrates with team-mates after scoring his team's first goal

10 Jul 2018

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 10: Samuel Umtiti of France celebrates with team mates after scoring his team's first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Semi Final match between Belgium and France at Saint Petersburg Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Getty Images

Belgium v France: Samuel Umtiti of France celebrates with team-mates after scoring his team's first goal

10 Jul 2018

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JULY 10: Samuel Umtiti of France celebrates with team mates after scoring his team's first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Semi Final match between Belgium and France at Saint Petersburg Stadium on July 10, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Getty Images

Belgium v France: Samuel Umtiti of France celebrates with team-mates after scoring his team's first goal Belgium v France: Samuel Umtiti of France celebrates with team-mates after scoring his team's first goal