After a 12-year break and two years after losing in the Euro final, France is one win away from winning the World Cup following their 1-0 win over Belgium in the semi final, courtesy of a Samuel Umtiti header.
France 1 Belgium 0 (Match Highlights)
Despite early Belgian pressure and what seemed like an endless supply of balls flying through the French penalty box, Belgium couldn’t convert, and when they did get a good opportunity, Hugo Lloris, just like his counterpart on the other side Thibaut Courtois, had a terrific day.
N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba were fantastic in helping France take over the middle of the pitch in the second half, but the big change came earlier, when Antoine Griezmann dropped back and help France curb the Belgian enthusiasm, allowing Kante to focus on slowing down Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, with the help of his teammates.
While Kylian Mbappe was dangerous and industrious, it was a defender that made the difference, Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti’s header grazing Fellaini’s locks before beating Courtois. France were the more dangerous side for most of the match, closer to making it 2-0 than Belgium equalizing.
Romelu Lukaku disappointed once again in a big match, always providing too weak of a touch, or an inaccurate decision just when Belgium needed efficiency. France are in the World Cup final for the third time in 20 years, hoping to begin another golden generation. Belgium have matched the national team’s best from 1986, but will feel, regardless of the result on Saturday, that they slightly underachieved considering the circumstances.
6 goals: Harry Kane (England)
4 goals: Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal), Romelu Lukaku (Belgium), Denis Cheryshev (Russia)
3 goals: Artem Dzyuba (Russia), Diego Costa (Spain), Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann (France), Edinson Cavani (Uruguay), Yerry Mina (Colombia)
2 goals: Mile Jedinak (Australia), Luka Modric (Croatia), Philippe Coutinho, Neymar (Brazil), Ahmed Musa (Nigeria), Eden Hazard (Belgium), John Stones (England), Luis Suárez (Uruguay), Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Son Heung-Min (South Korea), Andreas Granqvist (Sweden), Wahbi Khazri (Tunisia), Sergio Agüero (Argentina), Takashi Inui (Japan)
1 goal: Yuri Gazinsky, Aleksandr Golovin (Russia), Jose Maria Gimenez (Uruguay), Nacho, Isco, Iago Aspas (Spain), Paul Pogba, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti (France), Lionel Messi, Marcos Rojo, Angel di Maria, Gabriel Mercado (Argentina), Alfred Finnbogason (Iceland), Christian Eriksen,Yussuf Poulsen, Mathias Jorgensen (Denmark), Aleksandar Kolarov, Aleksandar Mitrovic (Serbia), Hirving Lozano, Carlos Vela, Chicharito (México), Paulinho, Thiago Silva, Roberto Firmino, Renato Augusto (Brazil), Steven Zuber, Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri, Blerim Dzemaili, Josip Drmic (Switzerland), Ola Toivonen, Ludwig Augustinsson, Emil Forsberg (Sweden), Dries Mertens, Michy Batshuayi, Adnan Januzaj, Jan Vertonghen, Marouane Fellaini, Nacer Chadli, Kevin de Bruyne (Belgium), Ferjani Sassi, Dylan Bronn, Fakhreddine Ben Youssef(Tunisia), Shinji Kagawa, Yuya Osaka, Keisuke Honda, Genki Haraguchi (Japan), Juan Quintero, Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado (Colombia), M’Baye Niang, Sadio Mane, Moussa Wague (Senegal), Grzegorz Krychowiak, Jan Bednarek (Poland), Ante Rebic, Ivan Rakitic, Mario Mandzukic, Andrej Kramaric (Croatia), Kim Young-Gwon (South Korea), Marco Reus (Germany), Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire, Dele Alli (England), Felipe Baloy (Panama), Salman Al Faraj, Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia), Ricardo Quaresma, Pepe (Portugal), Khalid Boutaib, Youssef En-Nesyri (Morocco), Karim Ansarifard (Irán), Andre Carrillo, Paolo Guerrero (Peru), Victor Moses (Nigeria), Kendall Watson (Costa Rica)
Croatia vs England