After 20 years, Gauls will seek in Russia 2018 to raise the World Cup again
France will play the final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, beating Belgium (1-0) with a header from Samuel Umtiti after a corner kick, the sentence of a French side that played their cards on the counterattack and stopped the dream the ‘golden generation’ of Belgian football.
The head of Umtiti is worth a final, the third of a World Cup for France, achieved with the practical recipe with which he has managed to advance in Russia 2018: the backlash, with an excellent Kylian Mbappé on the run and an intelligent Antoine Griezmann. Only the failures Olivier Giroud deprived them of more goals.
The new batch ‘bleu’ will have its second consecutive final, after which they lost in the Eurocopa 2016 against Portugal, and the third of their country in the World Cup. The first one they won at home in 1998 to Brazil with their coach Didier Deschamps on the pitch. In the second, they fell to Italy in Germany 2006.
A header that will be remembered in a long time in Belgium, which again hit the wall with the semifinals. The same that stopped the generation of Enzo Scifo and Jean-Marie Pfaff in Mexico 1986 did it with the Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne or Thibaut Courtois. They dominated the possession, but they lacked danger.
The two teams arrived without conceding almost anything: France, just a draw against Denmark in the first phase and a few minutes to Argentina in the second round, before Mbappé smashed it. Belgium, a quarter of suffering and epic comeback against the surprising Japan and a tactical lesson in the quarters to Brazil.
Roberto Martínez left protecting his midfield with Moussa Dembélé as a substitute for sanctioned defender Thomas Meunier, with the aim of helping Axel Witsel and exercising as a prey dog after the start of Kylian Mbappé, who appeared in the first minute looking for a career and warning of what would come
The ball was from the Belgian start, which maneuvered between a rear four defending and the scheme of three central and two players open in the bands: Born Chadli and Eden Hazard. On the left, from which penetrated the Chelsea star, came the best of the occasions of the ‘Red Devils’.
Hazard beat the young French side Benjamin Pavard at all times and threatened, first with a shot with the left and then with another in the half-turn with the right that cleared the central French Raphael Varane to corner. It was the 19th minute.
The Belgian harassment continued: a header from Marouanne Fellaini, a shot after a rebound in a corner of Toby Alderweireld … In both answered Hugo Lloris, savior of his team in the first 25 minutes. In another pass of the death of Hazard from the left, it was Umtiti who answered for a France with water around his neck.
Without having reached the goal, the ‘Red Devils’ lowered a march, and France began to find the counterattack and the chances. Giroud had two, a shot from head to center of Pavard in a rehearsed play, and a loose shot after a pass of the death of Mbappé, whose uncheck had found Griezmann with a millimetric assistance. France regretted not having a ‘killer’ like 9.
The recipes of both teams – the Belgian possession towards the bands and the French wait for the counterattack – were so complementary that they provoked occasions on both sides. Before the break, Courtois avoided with the right foot that Pavard scored Mbappé pass, and Lukaku did not take advantage of an error of Umtiti to finish.
After passing through locker rooms, the tonic remained similar, but the Belgian possession was less dangerous and the French counterattacks more sharp. Vincent Kompany avoided a shot in the half-turn of Giroud, but in the subsequent corner, Umtiti went ahead to Alderweireld and Fellaini to head the 1-0.
The so accommodated even more to those of Didier Deschamps in his bet and to it union that Mbappé uncovered the jar of the essences: a race with pass for Matuidi and a pass of heel inside the area for the auction of Giroud. Roberto Martinez reacted by removing a half (Dembéle) and adding forward Dries Metrens.
In five minutes, two centers of the attacker from Naples forced Lloris to get a ball with his fists and see how another, topped by Fellaini, was a few meters from his goal. Possession was once again the golden generation of Belgian football, who saw their great moment slip through their fingers.
As the clock progressed, Belgian despair was on the rise as French fans at the St. Petersburg stadium began to sing ‘La Marseillaise’. Lukaku had a head option, but did not connect, Courtois stopped a low shot to Griezmann and Tolisso had the 2-0 in the discount. But it did not matter much, because the ‘bleus’ will be in the final in Moscow.
See minute by minute
94 ‘Vertonghen yellow card
70 ‘Yellow card for Belgian Alderweireld
67 ‘Vuela Mbappé for the ball and Giroud finishes the play with a shot to the clouds.
63 ‘Yellow card for the selected team Hazard
Umtiti took advantage of a center from the left. Anticipated the central and sent the ball very difficult for Lloris. Gauls lead the way to the bicampeonato.
51 ‘Gooooal de GOOOL de France.
50 ‘Very close to the first! Giroud received in the area, turned and fired, but was blocked by Kompany.
47 ‘UFFF Lukaku in the area received a yellow card. He managed to nod, but was uncomfortable with the Varane brand. Take off in the background.
46 ‘Mbappé tried to pass between four players, but was controlled in the last line of defenders.
45 ‘Belgium starts offensive with a pass from De Bruyne.
45 ‘Start the second half.
End of the first half
45 ‘Serious error! Umtiti could not clear a cross from the left. Lukaku did not expect the service and missed a clear opportunity.
43 ‘A dangerous foul! Griezmann left the free pass to Pogba with a cue and was stopped with a grab.
39 ‘UFFF Curtois saves his team! Pavard was hand to hand and goalkeeper appeared to cover the shot with his right leg. Great save.
33 ‘I was alone! Giroud received an unmarked service from Mbappé. He did not finish with power or direction.
31 ‘Cae Giroud inside the box and claiming penalty. There was no lack.
30 ‘UFFF Cabezazo de Giroud tries to equalize the chances of scoring. He passed slightly bypassed by the Belgian bow.
27 ‘UFFF Again Umtiti takes a dangerous cross. Lukaku was ready to score under the goal.
21 ‘UFFF Huge Lloris! French goalkeeper appeared as hero of his team with the first big save after Alderweireld’s shot.
20 ‘Varane must play to the limit to control a pass towards Fellaini inside the area. Corner shot
18 ‘UFFF Clear Belgium! Shot by Hazard was deflected by little after Fellaini’s header.
18 ‘Matuidi proves the goal! He found Curtois well standing.
17 ‘Vertonghen for an attack by Mbappé. It had to be demanded with a sweep.
15 ‘UFFF Belgium were here! Hazard came hand in hand against Lloris. His shot was deflected by little.
12 ‘UFFF Pogba leaked a great pass to Mbappé. He could not take the service despite winning the position with great speed.
12 ‘Match even at the beginning of the actions. The Belgians try to dominate in the opposite field and France has its hopes in the fast counterattack.
10 ‘UFFF Mbappé did not manage to set up in the area. Then it was long for Giroud.
8 ‘Belgium imposes its dominance in France field. The Gauls can not recover the ball quickly.
5 ‘Belgium is coming! Hazard climbs to the right. Its center was rejected to the corner by Umtiti.
2 ‘Belgium tries to respond to the attack with ball control in the midfield.
1 ‘Mbappé overflowed to the left. He did not find Griezmann in the center of the area.
0 ‘Started the game.
-Equipments are accommodated on the court.
-The hymns of both selections sound good.