See the overview of the match France – Belgium.
“Thierry, if you want to come back to France tomorrow, several trains are leaving Brussels Midi station”, the rail company quipped shortly after Didier Deschamps’ side had booked their place in the final.
These were neighbors of contrasting World Cup pedigrees, meeting for a 74th time and the chance to play on the grandest stage of all. After knocking favourites Brazil out of the tournament with an impressive display, they went into the semi-final full of confidence, but couldn’t find a way past a stubborn French team.
Deschamps and Henry were team mates together in France ’98, when the hosts beat Brazil in Paris to lift what is now their only major tournament trophy.
France head coach Didier Deschamp speaking to the media in Russian Federation.
“I couldn’t ask more of the players’ attitude”, he said.
“We feel we’ve given our all and we need to focus on the positives”, continued the Manchester City midfielder, reflecting Belgium’s admirable ability to deal with defeat and to put things into perspective. If you lose against a team that has played better, you say good, congratulations, because they have been better.
Umtiti’s goal secured France the first spot in the 2018 World Cup finals.
However, one of the best players so far was goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
To start the semi-final tie in the World Cup, Belgium coach Roberto Martinez opted to play Mousa Dembele in the midfield in hopes of adding a new facet to the team’s offence.
“The way the French team approached the game in the second half was superb, though they could have scored more goals but had good control of the game”. True, the France team that won the World Cup in 1998 with Deschamps as its captain was considerably older.
Lukaku was presented with his first real opportunity three minutes of the restart, but headed harmlessly over from Axel Witsel’s inviting cross, but when the opening goal arrived, it did so at the other end.
In preparing for this match, Les Bleus are well-aware that all the frustration of coming up short in their last two major tournament finals can be washed away on Sunday.
De Bruyne also suggested that France’s performance had been overly defensive, but he admitted that they had done their jobs well.
For months, Deschamps has been downplaying expectations by making out that France’s youth was a drawback, not its strength.