- Samuel Umtiti made all the difference where it matters and earned Budweiser Man of the Match.
- Belgium lost to France once again in World Cup after 32 years
- Both teams put up extraordinary show, goalkeepers were tested number of occasions
France beat Belgium by a solitary goal, when Samuel Umtiti breached Belgium defence to send past Thibaut Courtois, Belgium Goalkeeper in France vs Belgium semifinal in St. Petersburg. Both the teams created number of chances which were either narrowly missed or blocked by goal-keepers on both sides.
Earlier Roberto Martinez who missed his regular cerntre back Thomas Meunier for this match due to yellow card, started with Fellaini and Chadli, whereas Blaise Matuidi came back from one match suspension because of card.
Belgium dominated in first 25 minutes, creating number of chances, with Eden Hazar operating from left flank and France defence was lucky to survive. One powerful Hazard right-footer from top of the box, was headed over the post by Varane, whereas Hugo Lloris made one diving save to his right, when Toby Alderweireld blasted it from 20 yards.
France got first chance to score at 33minute, when Griezmann opened Belgium defence with a long ball for Mbappe at right flank and Mbappe cleverly crossed that for Giroud at centre of the box. Giroud failed to convert from 12 yards. At 40th minute, Mbappe’s clever through for Benjamin Pavard opened Belgium defence once again. Pavard tried to place that from right of , but it went for a corner after deflecting from Courtois’s right leg.
At 50th minute, Samuel Umtiti scored the lone goal with a header from a Griezmann corner. Fellaini, who earlier saved Belgium against Japan and Brazil, will perhaps repent his rest of life, as he could not notice Umtiti coming from back for the header. Thibaut Courtois, Belgium Goalkeeper did not have much to do, but witness the ball plunging into the net.
Mbappe won heart of many with his superlative show and his back-heel pass that open goal from Giroud is earning rave praise from all quarter. It was a good chance, though Courtois came forward to block the ball. It was Mbappe who kept Belgium defender at their own half, even in the dying moment of the match, when Belgium was trailing 0-1. Roberto Martinez and Belgium lost could not be more aggressive as they knew one counter attack with France teenager would seal the fate of the game. Ironically more than 70% time of 6 minute injury time was played in Belgium half, with France showing all intention to keep the ball away from Belgium than creating an attack.
Griezmann contributed in the score-line as always. His passes always opened the game for France and created chances. Pogba took lot of workload moving all the places between boxes and helped defence and attack when it was needed. Didier Deschamps won World Cup as France captain 20 years back. Can he win that as manager too?