France have reached their third World Cup final in the past 20 years courtesy of a 1-0 victory over Belgium in their last-four clash at the Krestovsky Stadium in Saint Petersburg.
Samuel Umtiti was the unlikely hero for Les Bleus with a header early in the second half which proved to be the winning goal in a match high on quality, albeit low on goals.
A pulsating first half saw both sides miss chances and both goalkeepers pull off memorable saves, but it was France who ultimately came out on top in the star-studded contest to set up a World Cup final showdown against either Croatia or England.
The opener seemed to take some of the wind out of Belgium’s sails, and France – inspired by the growing influence of Mbappe – almost doubled their advantage five minutes later when the Paris Saint-Germain youngster impudently flicked the ball into the path of Giroud, who was unable to finish from inside the area.
Roberto Martinez turned to Dries Mertens off the bench in an attempt to change things, and the Napoli attacker had an immediate impact when he reached the byline before standing a cross into the middle which was only cleared as far as De Bruyne, who scuffed his volley into the arms of Lloris.
A second wild effort from De Bruyne saw another chance go begging for Belgium before Witsel forced a good save from Lloris with a powerful drive from 25 yards out.
That proved to be the last clear sight of goal Belgium had as France saw the game out in a professional manner, and Les Bleus came closest to adding to the scores further when both Griezmann and Corentin Tolisso were denied by Courtois in stoppage time.
Credit : Soccerladuma