Umtiti scores only goal in win vs

Sheila Mcguire
July 11, 2018

France and Belgium will meet Tuesday in St. Petersburg, after both teams booked their spots among the most talented in the 2018 staging of the soccer World Cup.

They came from every continent, but the two semifinals will see four European countries fight for bragging rights and more importantly a place in Sunday's World Cup final.

In contrast, France sleep-walked through the group stages, eking out wins over Australia and Peru before a stultifying 0-0 draw with Denmark. Hindustan Times delivers the news across all social media platforms, on the web, and at your doorstep.

Given how the voting usually goes, he nearly surely won't win the player of the tournament award, but he deserves more consideration, especially if France lifts the trophy on Sunday.

First up is France and Belgium.

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Tuesday's game has an added twist of intrigue in that the French and Belgian players know each other so well.

He has not tasted defeat in a competitive game as Belgium boss, his last loss in a non-friendly match the Toffees' 3-0 defeat by Sunderland in May 2016.

Against Brazil in the quarters, Martinez showed tactical adventure, as he pushed target man Lukaku to the wing to allow De Bruyne to operate as a "false nine". There was less at stake the last time these 2 went head-to-head at the World Cup, a 4-2 victory for France in the 3rd place match in 1986.

The goal capped an impressive display by Umtiti, who helped to shut out the most productive attack in the World Cup with 14 goals, and meant three defenders have now scored on France's route to the final.

In Belgium's corner will be France's 1998 World Cup victor Thierry Henry who is now a member of the Belgian coaching staff.

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Even if that is a small stretch the Three Lions can nearly always guarantee that the English captain will be able to beat the opposing keeper when they need him most.

Deschamps, the captain of that famous 1998 squad, now has the chance to become the third person to win the World Cup as a player and a coach, after Germany great Franz Beckenbauer and Brazil's Mario Zagallo.

"It might be a bit hard for him but he's working for Belgium now, he wants us to win".

"I think his heart will be split, because before everything he is French".

Lukaku has enjoyed a great World Cup so far - following on from scoring 27 goals in his first season with Manchester United. His pace caused the Belgian back line worries all night and one moment of absolute genius when his quick feet and back heel sent Giroud through on goal, nearly lead to one of the goals of the tournament so far.

After reaching the quarterfinals at the 2014 World Cup and the European Championship in 2016, Belgium again missed the chance to get to an global final and has yet to fulfil its lofty expectations.

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