France advance to the World Cup finals with a 1-0 victory over Belgium
In what was set to be a World Class classic, I think we indeed got one. France advance to its first World Cup finals since 2006 with a narrow 1-0 victory over Belgium. This game started off with Belgium being the more aggressive and attacking team. French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had to make back to back fantastic saves in the 19th and 21st minute to keep Belgium off the goal sheet. Even Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was called upon when he just got a touch to Benjamin Pavard’s shot which resulted for a corner for Belgium. The first and only goal in the game came in the 51st minute when Antoine Griezmann’s corner found Samuel Umtiti for the header which gave France the 1-0 lead. This is now back to back games that one of the two French central defenders have scored in, Raphael Varane scored in their quarterfinal game against Uruguay. Afterwards Belgium had to start putting numbers forward in search for that equalizer. Belgium’s Eden Hazard had once again another great performance; his touch and dribbling were on world class display again. Hazard continued to cause problems to the French defense throughout the game, but especially in the last half hour of the game. The French were able to hold on to the clean sheet, resulting in them winning 1-0. France could have possibly made this 2-0 as they had two great chances in stoppage time, since Belgium put everything forwards in the dying minutes of the match; but the French failed to score on those gifted chances. Belgium were the better team throughout the match as the French looked like they wanted to sit back and hit them off the counter attack, which worked perfectly once they were in the lead. But these are the type of games potential champions have to show their worth and win the match under any circumstances, which they did. Big teams show time and time again they can win on their off days and that is why they are considered one of the top teams in the world. France is now in the World Cup finals where they will look to win their second World Cup and first since 1998. Belgium are massively disappointed after this loss as they thought they were the better team in this match and deserve to be in the finals. But Belgium now has one more match remaining where they can possibly still finish third which would become Belgium’s best World Cup finish, Belgium’s current best World Cup finish was in 1986 when they finished 4th. France will face the winner of the Croatia-England match in the final, while the loser of that match will face Belgium in the match for third place.