Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Arts&Culture | By Antoinette Montgomery

France reach World Cup final after ousting Belgium 1-0

France reach World Cup final after ousting Belgium 1-0

Henry is now an assistant to Belgium coach Robert Martinez, and will be helping his adopted nation to reach their first World Cup final.

The Manchester United midfielder also indicated there was still work to do for Didier Deschamps' side in Russian Federation, saying of Tuesday night's victory: "It's great but it's not finished".

"It was a tight game and there weren't many big moments to decide it", he said in his post-match press conference.

Fellow defender Lucas Hernandez was similarly joyous, saying simply: "Direction". The Red Devils have equaled their best World Cup in history - they also reached the semi-finals in Mexico 1986 - but now the team wants more.

RTBF is airing the World Cup in Belgium, where the main supermarket chain there, Delhaize, is closing an hour early tonight so its employees can watch the 8 PM game. The dependable Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti will start in central defence with Benjamin Pavard at right-back and Lucas Hernandez at left-back.

Belgium threatened several times, sending crosses into the box repeatedly over the final 45 minutes and into stoppage time, but could not beat Lloris for an equalizer. "But I played many, many wonderful matches with Chelsea, Lille and with the Belgian team; however, in general, this is the best game I've played so far in my career". The Guardian's Martin Laurence seemingly went against the grain, however, and predicted a 2-1 win for Belgium. After all, they have won their five World Cup matches, and their road has been significantly tougher than France's one.

One handsome trick in the 57th minute left little doubt about whose night it was as Mbappe played in teammate Olivier Giroud with the kind of pass that you only ever see in video games from the Federation Internationale de Football Association franchise.

Yet while Hazard - Belgium's captain - faded after a strong opening 30 minutes, Mbappe was a constant threat.

Samuel Umtiti's header was all that separated these two old rivals in a brilliant game which would easily have graced Sunday's Moscow finale.

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. That's how close the game was.

But with their King Philippe watching from the stands, there was to be no coronation.

France, the 1998 champions and runners-up in '06, will play either Croatia or England in Monday's final in Moscow.

Just three matches remain in the 2018 World Cup, the first of which is scheduled to kick off on Tuesday when France is scheduled to take on Belgium in a highly anticipated semifinal matchup.

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