Federation Internationale de Football Association 2018: Finalists France arrive at hotel after beating Belgium

Belgium's team players take part in a training session of Belgium's national football team at the Guchkovo Stadium in Dedovsk, outside Moscow, on July 8, 2018, ahead of their Russian Federation 2018 World Cup semi-final football match against France.

France will now face Croatia or England in the finals.

Samuel Umtiti's 51st-minute header sent France into the World Cup final with a ruthless 1-0 win over Belgium in an absorbing first semi-final on Tuesday. Meunier has been effective for Belgium, but hasn't shown the flash and talent that make him successful in France. Not only they are set to take on one of the top European sides at the moment, but this will also be their tougher opponent in quite a while. Hindustan Times delivers the news across all social media platforms, on the web, and at your doorstep. They failed to get close to the heights they reached when knocking Argentina out earlier in the tournament, and while Mbappe blossomed all evening, Antoine Griezmann had a night to forget, while Olivier Giroud's woes in front of goal came to the fore again, as he yet again failed to hit the target in a match.

Belgium beat France 4-3 the last time the two sides went head-to-head, in a friendly in 2015.

Belgium faced a heart-stopping moment of uncertainty in the first knockout round against Japan, when Martinez's decision to rest players in their final group match against England nearly backfired spectacularly. Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard made repeated forrays into the French box but the combination of Raphael Varane, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and defensive midfielder Blaise Matuidi kept them out. With the win, Les Bleus have secured a ticket to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final in Moscow.

France have reached the World Cup semifinals six times.

In Belgium's corner will be France's 1998 World Cup victor Thierry Henry who is now a member of the Belgian coaching staff. "But we're not thinking about it too much, we're going to be focused on the pitch and our game". Now he is an assistant to Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and the two of them will be plotting how to get the better of France tactically.

France's players danced on the field after the final whistle and their fans sang in the stands long past the end of the match, surrounded by yellow-clad security. "For Belgian football I think eventually there will still be an opportunity to do well".

France who were more than happy to play on the counter attack, always looked a danger especially with Mbappe running at the Belgian defence.

One of the Red Devils' many French connections was the biggest danger, as Eden Hazard, who began his career with Lille in Ligue 1, pulled the first attempt of goal just beyond the far post.

"He's brought something we didn't have", said Spanish coach Martinez.

"That was the difference, but if you're going to lose, I'm so proud of the players".

  • Salvatore Jensen