Blow by blow: France vs Belgium

France Belgium graphic

In players such as Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba, these sides boast some of the world's most devastating attacking players.

Umtiti's header was the ideal start to the second half for France, sending the blue fans into a frenzy.

With World Cup superpowers Belgium and France set to square off in the semifinals, fans of the two countries have been engaging in a war of words.

France will play in the World Cup final for the first time since 2006 and all the credit goes Samuel Umtiti, who scored the goal after a second-half header.

The Barcelona man's 51st-minute winning header made him the third French defender to score at this tournament.

"So two teams packed with stars, going head-to-head for a place in the World Cup final". France came back from a 1-2 deficit against Argentina, while Belgium turned an 0-2 defeat into a 3-2 win over Japan.

Didier Deschamps' side started the match on the backfoot with Belgium hitting them with wave after wave of attacks.

Of the 73 meetings between the teams, Belgium have won 30 and France 24, with 19 draws between them, although if Belgium are to reach their first World Cup final they will have to do so by beating France at the tournament for the first time.

With Ngolo Kante marshalling the effort, France were on De Bruyne and Hazard like a flash, snuffing out the slightest opportunity for them to probe the French defence.

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Roberto Martinez's swashbuckling Belgium side head into Tuesday's semi-final with familiar foes France as the World Cup's leading scorers, but their old rivals have evolved as the tournament has progressed and will also be full of confidence. A pair of Diego Maradona second-half goals sank Belgium that day.

Martinez said: "It was a dead ball situation which was the difference".

'The game was very close, very tight and it was going to be decided by the one who could find the final touch in the box or get a bit of luck on goal.

France won a free-kick on the right wing where Griezmann's delivery was ideal but Pogba's header goes over.

15' CHANCE! France lose possession again, and Hazard is at an awkwardly acute angle and drags his shot wide of the far post.

51' GOAL! Umtiti gets the goal to break the deadlock!

Hazard was risky again moments later when he cut in from the left and unleashed a rasping drive which clipped off the back of Raphael Varane and just over the bar.

Martinez's team face the 1998 World Cup winners in St Petersburg tomorrow for a place in the final, marking the first time Belgium have reached this stage of the World Cup since 1986, when they finished fourth.

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