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ibusinesslines.com September 24, 2018


Samuel Umtiti rises high to book France's place in the final

11 July 2018, 06:27 | Myron Mathis

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It took world-class saves at both ends of the field to keep that way-a full-stretch airborne parry by France's Hugo Lloris, and a one-on-one block by Belgium's Thibaut Courtois-not to ignore some stellar defending.

The connections between the two national team setups have become increasingly apparent in the two barren days between the last quarterfinal and the start of the last four. It's the third time France has reached the final in the last six World Cups.

"The frustration is there because we didn't lose to a team who are better than us, we lost to a team who play nothing, just defend". In their most recent action, Belgium defeated France in a wild 4-3 friendly in 2015.

"We had the ball and I think we have to give a lot of credit to France for the way they defended - they were very deep, they gave us a lot of respect in that way and yet we couldn't find a bit of margin in front of goal, a little bit of luck". When the goalkeepers are having a good day, the defence is organised and the rest of the players are very focused, the difference is often just a few small moments. "Of course, it is a hard situation, it really is not easy for him", said Deschamps. "On a personal level it is with great pleasure that I'm going to see him tomorrow".

Asked what Macron, who had been in the stands, said, he replied: "He said he would come back for the final, to see us with the Cup".

Belgium have scored at least two goals in all but one game during this competition.


People cheer and wave French flags as they gather at a fan zone in Paris on July 10, 2018 to watch the Russian Federation 2018 World Cup semi-final football match between France and Belgium. De Bruyne'sflexibility has allowed Martinez to tinker with his tactics during games and the former Everton boss knows how important the Manchester City playmaker is.

"It's essential to have a player like Kevin - that he can play different roles, " Martinez said Monday, on the eve of the semifinal.

Striker Romelu Lukaku has four goals and an assist in his four games and has drawn praise for his unselfish play. "That's the quality that he has". It was easy to imagine the likes of 19-year-old Kylian Mbappé, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann setting the whole tournament ablaze and turning into a permanent attacking show.

Belgium's chances of stopping their opponents are dented by the absence of suspended right back Thomas Meunier but Deschamps believes his charges are equally capable of adapting to any situation. Whilst Hazard also added that the plan was quickly made for Brazil in the first training session after the game against the Samurai Blue. Will they do something similar against us? He said: "I am not the manager, nor am I the assistant manager". France came back from a 1-2 deficit against Argentina, while Belgium turned an 0-2 defeat into a 3-2 win over Japan.

"I have three (Belgium) players in Tottenham", Lloris said, "and I get along extremely well with them".

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