Key moments as France beat Belgium to reach World Cup final

France have beaten Belgium 1-0 to qualify for the World Cup final.

France took the lead six minutes into the second half when Samuel Umtiti got to Antoine Griezmann's corner ahead of Marouane Fellaini and saw his header clip the Belgium midfielder on its way into the net.

Here, we look at the moments that mattered.

13 mins – Mbappé on the move

France demonstrates their counter-attacking threat courtesy of an early breakaway. Paul Pogba caresses a long pass towards Kylian Mbappé who outpaces Vincent Kompany and Jan Verthonghen. Thibaut Courtois is quickly off his line to avert the danger.

19 mins – Hazard fires two warnings

Eden Hazard cuts in from the left and scampers into the French penalty box before curling a low effort wide of the target. Blaise Matuidi fires straight at Courtois in response prior to another Hazard stinger requiring a Raphael Varane deflection to divert the ball over the crossbar.

22 mins – Lloris to the rescue

The ball falls to Toby Alderwerield from a Belgian corner where the Tottenham Hotspur defender turns and arrows a 15-yard shot towards the top corner. His club mate Hugo Lloris is alive to the danger and dives full length to prevent France from falling behind.

33 mins – Giroud fluffs his lines

A neat interaction sees Antoine Griezmann release Kylian Mbappé before the French teenage sensation cushions the ball across the goalmouth towards Olivier Giroud. The French striker cannot match the quality of the build-up, shanking his shot towards the corner flag.

38 mins – France must score?

N’Golo Kanté instigates a move that concludes with Kylian Mbappé releasing Benjamin Pavard behind the Belgian defence. It is a tight angle but Pavard elects to shoot rather than tee up an unmarked Antoine Griezmann. Courtois saves brilliantly with his foot much to Griezmann’s anger.

48 mins – Lukaku wastes a golden opportunity

Axel Witsel’s deep right wing cross evades Raphael Varane and gives Romelu Lukaku a clear sight of goal. The Manchester United striker can only direct his header over the bar from eight yards and it proves a costly miss.

51 mins – Umtiti breaks the deadlock

Antoine Griezmann sends a corner hurtling towards the front post where Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti out jumps Marouane Fellaini, thundering a header beyond Courtois. France are buzzing as evidenced by an impudent backheeled Mbappé pass to Giroud. C’est magnifique.

64 mins – Fellaini responds

Substitute Dries Mertens makes an early impression by crossing for Marouane Fellaini to head inches past a post. Belgium up the tempo but solid French defending helps Deschamps’ side maintain their slender advantage.

90+ mins – No way through for Belgium

A loose ball presents Axel Witsel with a sight of goal. The Belgian midfielder’s vicious first-time attempt is repelled by a diving Hugo Lloris. De Bruyne’s cross misses Lukaku by inches and Corentin Tolisso tests Courtois before the final whistle heralds Le Bleus’ World Cup final qualification.


Related Articles

Ireland interested in joint bid to host 2030 World Cup

Ireland set to join bid to host the 2030 World Cup

Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui stands by controversial Spain exit

England defender Maguire getting used to life as a cult hero

More in this Section

More misery for Real Madrid as they lose at home to Levante

Munster bonus-point win soured by late Gloucester fightback

Jose Mourinho loses cool as Chelsea snatch late draw at Stamford Bridge

Silva expects Palace to make life tough for Toffees


Breaking Stories

A tempting taste of what is on offer in Dingle

Too much information? Lindsay Woods on 'sharenting'

Graham Norton: ‘If it was hard work I couldn’t do it’

Saying yes to the dress: Behind the scenes at the royal wedding

More From The Irish Examiner