Football News

WORLD CUP 2018: France Vs Belgium, Semi-final, LIVE

Written By Narayan R | Mumbai | Published:

FULL TIME: France 1-0 Belgium
 

90' + 6': Great save by Courtois! France break forward and Tolisso is fed on the left. Inside the box, he tries to slide the ball past the keeper. But his effort is tipped away for a corner.
 

90' + 4': After a Belgium attack breaks down, Mbappe is fed on the right by Griezmann. He toys around with Vertonghen, and teases him into causing a foul. Vertonghen gets a yellow for his challenge.
 

90' + 3': Great challenge by Kompany! Mbappe looks to attack into the penalty area, and is one on one with Kompany. But the experienced defender times his challenge to perfection.
 

90' + 2': Yellow card for Mbapoe! The youngster tries to be clever and wastes time by not giving the ball back to Belgium. But the referee books him for that.
 

90' + 1': France get a free kick near the corner line on the left side. Meanwhile, Belgium make their final change as Chadli makes way for Batshuayi.
 

90': SIX MINUTES ADDED ON!
 

87': Kante pulls down Hazard in a dangerous position, and Belgium get a free kick. He gst a yellow card for the offense.
 

86': Matuidi, who has been struggling since the past few minutes following a collision with Hazard, is taken off. Tolisso replaces him.
 

85': It's now the first change for France. Giroud worker hard effortlessly. He gets replaced by Nzonzi for the final few minutes.
 

81': Good save by Lloris! Witsel hits a pile driver from 25 yards out, but Lloris is up to the task to punch it away out of danger.
 

80': After a lot of time, Carrasco finally arrives, and he replaces Fellaini.
 

79': Griezmann takes the set-piece, and it's a decent ball in the box. Pogba rises the highest to meet it with a header, but it's not troubling for Courtois.
 

78': Free kick for France in a good position. Fellaini is the culprit, as he brings down Mbappe.
 

77': Second change is imminent for Belgium. Carrasco is getting his final instructions, and from guess who? Thierry Henry!
 

71': Yellow card to Alderweireld as he stops Matuidi from countering. Prior to that, there were a couple of good crosses from the right by De Bruyne and Mertens. But Umtiti and Varane, with support of Pogba, knocked the danger away.
 

67': Another poor effort by Giroud! Mbappe embarks on another run, and then puts a nice sideways ball to Griezmann. The No.7 has the cool head to find Giroud on the edge of the box with a sliding pass. But the striker blazes his effort way over.
 

65': Chance for Fellaini! Mertens has made a huge impact since coming. This time, he sends in a good cross from the right, but Fellaini's header is just wide.
 

63': Corner for Belgium! Kompany plays a lovely diagonal pass towards Chadli. The winger tries to put a cross, but it's blocked out. After winning the corner, Chadli takes it, and it's a poor delivery. From that, France counter through Matuidi. But he is hacked down by Hazard, who gets a booking.
 

60': Belgium make the first change. The ineffective Dembele is replaced by Mertens.
 

56': CLOSE! Some great interplay in the edge of the box by Matuidi and Mbappe presents Giroud with a chance. But his effort his brilliantly blocked by Dembele.
 

54': Griezmann takes the set-piece, but it's well defended this time by the Belgium defense.
 

53': Free kick for France on the left side after Matuidi is fouled. Griezmann and Mbappe are over it!
 

52': GOAL! Umtiti gives France the lead! Griezmann takes the resulting corner, and the French defender meets it with a near-post header, which flies past Courtois.
 

51': Great block by Kompany! Good play on the left sees Matuidi get in the box. His low pass is well taken by Giroud. He turns and tries an effort, but it's brilliantly blocked away for a corner.
 

47': First chance of the half falls to Lukaku! Witsel plays a lovely ball in the box towards Lukaku. But the striker's effort is well over.
 

HALF TIME: France 0-0 Belgium
 

45' + 1': De Bruyne swings a brilliant cross in the box from right. The French defenders misjudge it, and the ball reaches Lukaku. But the striker can't react sharply and ball goes out. And it's half time.
 

45': Griezmann takes the set-piece, but it hits the top of the wall. The ball returns to the Frenchman, but his pass for his teammate is poor and goes for a goal kick. One minute added on!
 

43': Free kick for France in a dangerous position! Kante, like always, wins the ball. Pogba then goes charging towards the penalty box, but Dembele brings him down.
 

39': Great save! Brilliant play on the right by Mbappe, and he released Pavard. The full back tries to slide the ball past the goalkeeper, but Courtois makes a great save by his leg.
 

37': Great run from Griezmann, but no end result! The No.7 gets the ball in his own half, and embarks on a solo run. With little support around him, he has a go at the goal. But his effort is wayward.
 

34': What a chance for Giroud! Griezmann plays an unbelievable chipped ball over the defense for Mbappe. The youngster side foots the ball on plate for Giroud to finish. But under a bit of pressure, the striker fails to get a decent contact, and the ball goes out for a goal kick.
 

31': Wide! France get a free kick, which is taken short by Griezmann to Pavard. The full back puts a decent ball in the box, but Giroud's header is away from the goal.
 

29': This is the second time Belgium have reached the semi-finals. Before this, they did so in 1986. That time, it was France who knocked them out.
 

25': First corner for France! They do well in the attacking half and shift the ball to the left. Hernandez tries to have go, but it's well blocked.
 

23': Now a chance for Giroud! A great ball over the top is fed for the centre forward, but his desperate attempt to guide the ball fails.
 

21': De Bruyne swings a cross in the box from the left side. But like last time, Varane is there to clear the danger for a corner. Chadli takes the corner, and it's not well defended. The ball falls to Alderweireld, and his effort is saved brilliantly by Lloris for another corner.
 

19': Down the other end, Hazard takes on Pavard and makes room for a shot. His effort is heading at the goal, but in the final moment, Varane's head takes it away for a corner.
 

18': Brilliant effort by Matuidi! Kante does well to win the ball in Belgium's half, and passes it to Matuidi. His effort from 25 yards is straight at Courtois.
 

15': De Bruyne goes on a brilliant run through the middle, and looks set to to hurt the French defense. But his pass to Lukaku at the final moment isn't the best. After losing the ball, Belgium win it back and Hazard has a chance from the left side of the box. But his effort is just wide of the post.
 

12': After a fast start, both the teams have slowed down a bit. There is very little space in the centre of the park, with Kante, Fellaini and Witsel making important interceptions for their team.
 

7': It's a very poor corner from Chadli, as he overhits the corner. The ball goes out for a goal kick. Chance wasted!
 

6': Corner for Belgium! Hazard shows great change of pace on the left, and then puts a low cross in the box. But Umtiti clears it at the near post.
 

3': Belgium are playing a very unorthodox four at the back. Vemaelen is playing as a left back, but slotting in as the third centre back at times already.
 

1': Right from the word go, Mbappe attacks the France defense. He uses his pace to go past Hernandez, but his low cross is cleared by the defense.
 

KICK OFF!
 

Here are the starting XI for both the teams in this big match.
 


When France take on Belgium in the quarter-finals of World Cup 2018, one of the 'golden generations' will be knocked out. Both the teams have so much quality in their ranks that there is very little to choose from. But France holds the edge, given they have been in this situation many times before. Belgium, making only their second semi-final appearance, will start the match as underdogs. But they shouldn't feel so, given their performance in the tournament. 


So, just four more matches remain till the end of World Cup 2018. The edition in Russia has been arguably one of the best ever, and has produced endless moments of excitement and action.

The last four standing in the competition are France, Belgium, England and Croatia. Against all the odds, the favorites like Brazil, Spain, Germany and Argentina were knocked out early.

Quality hasn't been lacking one bit from World Cup 2018. The introduction of VAR has spiced things up, so much so that the first 36 matches produced at least one goal. 

The first semi-final will see France take on Belgium. It will be a contest between 'two golden generations' of their respective nations. France, who won the title in 1998, have never looked as strong as they look right now.

Their defense is secure with Hugo Lloris in goal. The midfield has steel and guile, with Ngolo Kante providing them legs, and Paul Pogba getting them the creativity. But it is the attack where France ooze quality. In Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe, they have two of the best players in the world. Add Olivier Giroud and Ousmanne Dembele to that, and the opposition is in for a fight.

As for Belgium, they have already achieved a small personal history. This is just their second semi-final appearance at a World Cup, with the previous one coming in 1986.

The Red Devils arguably have the best backline in the world. With Thibaut Courtois in goal, and Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen as centre backs, their defense is secured.

Midfield is another area where Belgium have abundance of talent. In Axel Witsel and Maroune Fellaini, they have two tall and strong midfielders capable of silencing opponent attackers. Then you have Kevin de Bruyne, arguably the most creative midfielder in the world. In the subs, there is Moussa Dembele, who could fit into any starting XI around the world, and Youri Tielemans, one of the best upcoming talents.

Just like their opponents, Belgium have a very strong attack. Eden Hazard can be one of the best players in the world on his day, and Romelu Lukaku has proved in this tournament how good he is. Apart from them, Dries Mertens, Yannick Carrasco are all quality players, capable to turning the game around.

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