FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final highlights: France beat Belgium, enter final
Get highlights of France vs Belgium, FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final, here. France beat Belgium 1-0 at the Saint Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday to secure their passage into the finals.football Updated: Jul 11, 2018 01:36 IST
France reached the FIFA World Cup 2018 final on Tuesday after a second-half header from Samuel Umtiti gave them a 1-0 win against Belgium.Belgium enjoyed large amounts of possession but Umtiti’s goal in the 51st minute from a corner ultimately proved the difference as 1998 champions France reached their third World Cup final. Goalkeepers Hugo Lloris and Thibaut Courtois both made smart saves to make sure an intriguing game remained scoreless at the interval. Belgium pushed hard for an equaliser after conceding but Roberto Martinez watched on as his team suffered their first defeat in 25 outings, ending their hopes of winning the tournament for the first time in history as their so-called golden generation came up short. Get highlights of France vs Belgium, FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final, here.
1:35 AM IST: That’s it from our side, thank you so much for joining us! Do join us tomorrow for more coverage of the tournament. Until then, goodnight and goodbye.
1:33 AM IST: This France team were always considered a threat but many thought their inexperience might count against them. However, they have been a top side and deserve their moment to shine.
1:28 AM IST: France’s game plan towards the end of the game might have seemed rudimentary, but it made sense to look to not concede. Belgium played well, but lacked the finishing touch in front of goal.
1:25 AM IST: That’s it! France have entered the final for the first time since 2006! And deservingly so, I might add! Heartbreak for Belgium, but it is what it is.
1:23 AM IST: France have largely wasted time but they have made a few chances, none of which they’ve come close to taking.
1:18 AM IST: 6 minutes added on.
1:14 AM IST: Belgium win a free-kick but De Bruyne’s delivery is cleared out. It gives the midfielder a chance to line up again and his cross just about evades Lukaku.
1:10 AM IST: 8 minutes left for Belgium to find an equaliser.
1:06 AM IST: France win a free-kick on the right wing. Griezmann’s delivery is good but Pogba’s header goes over.
1:03 AM IST: De Bruyne gets some space to shoot but his effort goes well over.
1:00 AM IST: Belgium are being patient in possession for now but Mertens has looked a threat since coming on and his crosses from wide
12:55 AM IST: The game has not dropped in intensity in the slightest. Belgium are threatening while going forward and France and only to happy to break at speed when they have the chance.
12:50 AM IST: Eden Hazard enters the book. Meanwhile, Mertens puts in a wonderful cross that Fellani heads just wide.
12:45 AM IST: Belgium making an attacking substitute now. Dries Mertens comes on for Mousa Dembele.
12:42 AM IST: Belgium look shook now. France are camped out inside the penalty area and Giroud gets a good shot in but it’s blocked.
12:38 AM IST: GOAAAAAL! Samuel Umtiti heads France ahead from a corner! He beats Fellaini in the air and powers his header into the goal.
12:35 AM IST: Witsel aims a lovely cross into the box but Lukaku’s header goes over.
12:33 AM IST: The second half is now underway. Can anyone break the deadlock or are we destined for extra-time and maybe penalties? We shall find out soon.
12:18 AM IST: Half-time arrives and the game is now goalless. But what an amazing half that was.
12:13 AM IST: After a quiet few minutes France win a free-kick in a dangerous position. Sadly, Griezmann can only hit the wall.
12:08 AM IST: For all the action that this half has seen, it’s surprising to see the scoreline still remain unaffected.
12:04 AM IST: Giroud now misses a golden chance after Mbappe lays it off for him but the big striker loses his footing anf the shot is tame.
12:00 AM IST: France get a free-kick and the delivery from Griezmann is good. Giroud’s header goes slightly over.
11:56 PM IST: France steadily make inroads into the Belgium box and Matuidi’s run looked to have had them in danger but he overran the ball and it went out of play for a goal-kick.
11:52 PM IST: Remember what I said about Courtois being the busier of the two keepers? I take that back. Lloris is having his goal peppered with shots and he’s saving them like Neo in The Matrix movies so far. It’s been a thrilling first 20 or so minutes.
11:48 PM IST: OH SO NEARLY! Matuidi unleashes a thunderbolt of a shot but it is straight at Courtois and he collects. He’s been the busier of the two ‘keepers thus far. At the other end, Hazard cuts back and unleashes a good shot of his own to win a corner that comes to nothing.
11:45 PM IST: It is now Belgium’s turn to break after winning the ball. De Bruyne leads the charge but his pass is intercepted. Belgium retain the ball and Hazard unleashes a low shot that fizzes wide.
11:43 PM IST: Both teams have the speed to break at pace and France very nearly do so. Pogba releases Mbappe with a through ball but Courtois comes out to snuff out the danger.
11:39 PM IST: The game has slowed down slightly for now but both teams have looked good in the early stages.
11:35 PM IST: Belgium now finding their rhythm in the early parts of the game and they earn a corner. Both teams are looking very fluid.
11:32 PM IST: The game barely kicks off and Mbappe breaks free down the right with a massive surge of pace. Belgium are in for a long night if they can’t stop him from doing that.
11:30 PM IST: The referee blows his whistle and we are underway at Saint Petersburg!
11:25 PM IST: The players have emerged from the tunnel and have lined up for the national anthems.
11:15 PM IST: The key battle today will be between Kylian Mbappe and Eden Hazard. Both have the ability to run at opponents and create chances as well as take them. But the battle between Romelu Lukaku and Antoine Griezmann - both their side’s respective top scorers - will also be worth watching out for.
11:00 PM IST: 30 minutes till kick-off. Today’s game will certainly be a thriller with the amount of quality on display. Kick-off can’t come soon enough!
10:55 PM IST: Both teams making just the solitary change then. The inclusion of Blaise Matuidi certainly strengthens Les Bleus. It remains to be seen how the absence of Meunier and the inclusion of Dembele will affect Belgium.
10:50 PM IST: Belgium starting XI - Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany, Jan Vertonghen, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini, Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli
France starting XI - Hugo Lloris; Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante; Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Blaise Matuidi; Olivier Giroud.
10:45 PM IST: Hello and welcome to live coverage of the first FIFA World Cup 2018 semi-final between France and Belgium!
The two teams have played 73 matches against each other with Belgium winning 30, France 24 and 19 games ending in draws.
The match will begin at 23:30 hours IST.
First Published: Jul 10, 2018 21:32 IST