Umtiti scores only goal in win vs

Brenda Watkins
July 11, 2018

Belgium coach Roberto Martinez said luck was against his side as they fell short against France in the World Cup semi-final on Tuesday, losing 1-0 in Saint Petersburg as the "golden generation" saw another chance slip away.

The game will feature plenty of talented attackers and has the potential to be one of the most exciting games of the competition.

In what turned out to be a game of fine margins, Belgium coach Martinez sprang yet another surprise with his formation, playing three centre backs and without any specialist full-back or wing-back. Didier Deschamps's team has many faces to it, but they are all smiling now. It's the third time France has reached the final in the last six World Cups. Dubbed by many as the two best teams left in the competition, we could be in line for a thrilling encounter between two attacking-minded teams.

The team has yet to make a mark on a major tournament, but beating Brazil to reach the semi-finals will have instilled belief they can win the biggest prize of all. Thus can he call him "a great gentleman of French football" who "did leave a mark on the history of Les Bleus", while calling the whole thing "a little bit peculiar" and saying, "I think his heart will be split tomorrow" because he is, after all, French, even while he "will give everything to help his team", which is Belgium.

Belgium faced a heart-stopping moment of uncertainty in the first knockout round against Japan, when Martinez's decision to rest players in their final group match against England nearly backfired spectacularly.

"It's me that scored", Umtiti said, "but we all delivered a big game". France is slightly favored over Belgium in their first competitive meeting since 1986.

Captain Hugo Lloris is confident France will be ready for the challenge of taking on a Belgium outfit who "know how to do everything" in their World Cup semi-final. The French lost in the 2006 World Cup final and won the 1998 World Cup. Matuidi had to be subbed off after a sickening collision with Hazard.

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So when Umtiti, a defender surged past Belgium's Marouane Fellaini to nod home Griezmann's corner kick, it was the mark of something else entirely.

Giroud then had another great chance as Mbappe cushioned a long ball across the area, only for the striker to fluff his shot under pressure from Alderweireld. Giving an insight into his managerial nous, Mourinho explained set piece training ideally fits the World Cup schedule, which results in a reduced reliance on goals from open play.

France came through their quarter-final unscathed, and Deschamps has his entire squad to choose from, while Belgium are only slightly worse off.

It's not yet clear what role Kevin De Bruyne will play for Belgium in the World Cup semifinal against France.

Right at the conclusion of the first half, Romelu Lukaku - bottled up by Raphael Varane and Samuel Umtiti for much of match - had a moment of luck as the latter bungled a clearance from a de Bruyne cross, the Belgian attacker though was too perplexed to react.

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