France reached the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup after beating Belgium on Tuesday, thanks to a goal from Samuel Umtiti. Two sides built to attack produced a free-flowing semi-final in St. Petersburg, and Umtiti’s header in the 51st minute was all that was needed to separate both.
There were chances galore during the opening 45 minutes, with both teams relying on pace and movement from wide areas. For Belgium, it meant an enthralling display from Eden Hazard, with the tricky No. 10 embracing a free role:
Kristof Terreur 📰
When Eden Hazard’s not playing in a tactical straight jacket. #bel #fra #cfc #worldcup https://t.co/GJXMZ3BrxE
Hazard’s link-up with playmaker Kevin De Bruyne proved Belgium’s best route to goal. The two Premier League stars dovetailed brilliantly with a series of deft flicks and neat one- and two-touch passes.
France struggled to keep Hazard in check as the opening half wore on, with Fox Soccer showing one good chance for U.S. audiences:
The Red Devils kept the pressure on, but they found France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris a stubborn presence. UK viewers can see one of the Tottenham Hotspur stopper’s best saves:
France’s attempts to counter rested largely on the…