Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sports | By Jonathan Ford

France tops Belgium 1-0 to advance to World Cup Final

France tops Belgium 1-0 to advance to World Cup Final

However, his tireless work up against Fellaini & Alex Witsel is going to be important if France is going to reach their third ever World Cup final.

"England was one of the favourites for me for the tournament because they have a young and hungry team with no big, worldwide stars, so it won´t be easy for us".

France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made a great save in each half, denying the potent Belgian attack of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku the chance to advance the country to its first major final.

In their head-to-head record, Belgium lead the way with 30 wins to France's 24; there have been 19 draws between the two.

Facing them is France, the 1998 World Cup victor, that has players such as Kylian Mbappe, Paul Pogba or Antoine Griezman.

Stay tuned here for live updates and highlights of goals and key plays from throughout the match (refresh for most recent updates). Paul Pogba faces Manchester United club mates Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku.

Still, the change in shape did not appear to bother the tournament's top-scorers in an absorbing first half, both teams threatening a breakthrough as they refused to be overawed by the occasion.

Didier Deschamps´ France side failed to fire in their group matches but burst into life in the 4-3 demolition of Argentina as Mbappe overshadowed Lionel Messi and announced his arrival as a new superstar of the game.

In what could be the most controversial pick of the team, Antoine Griezmann edges out Kylian Mbappe for this last attacking role. Deschamps - famously dubbed as the "water carrier" for his style of play when he captained the France squad to victory in 1998; providing the legs for the more creative midfielders around him - and Martinez have very different approaches to the game. Belgium boss Roberto Martinez may revert to a classic 4-4-2 formation, reports. France forward Antoine Griezmann shouted during the post-match celebrations.

His introduction has allowed Martinez to play De Bruyne in the false number 9 role, freeing him up from defensive duties to play further up the pitch where his myriad talents could be put to better use - like shooting at goal and finding killer passes instead of trying to close down players. Yes, in the game against Japan, he had to throw on his more aerial players in a bid to secure that sensational comeback victory but he outdid Brazil with a tactical masterclass where his team attacked the five-time champions at will.

"It might be a bit hard for him but he's working for Belgium now, he wants us to win". "On the personal front it is with great pleasure that I'm going to see him tomorrow".

"Belgium are in a forward gear", said Deschamps.

France keeper Hugo Lloris, a Golden Glove candidate in Russian Federation, had nothing but positive things to say about the Belgium squad.

There was more of the same during Belgium's pre-match press conference. "There is a lot of respect between us". France have the personnel to take this game wide open, especially with Belgium being sloppy on the defensive end at times.

De Bruyne, speaking before Martinez, echoed similar thoughts.

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