France put together a solid defensive performance yet again as they were able to restrict Belgium and advance to the finals of the FIFA World Cup via a Samuel Umtiti header. The French were solid at the back with memorable performances from the likes of Varane, Umtiti while Paul Pogba displayed great defensive actions to help keep Belgium at bay. Umtiti’s header via a corner ensured that they did not need to push forward too much in search of a goal while the Belgians were a bit off colour on the night on the attacking front.
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France (4-3-3/4-2-3-1) Manager: Didier Deschamps
Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez; Pogba, Kante; Mbappe, Griezmann, Matuidi; Giroud
Belgium (4-3-3) Manager: Roberto Martinez
Courtois; Chadli, Alderweireld, Kompany, Vertonghen; Dembele, Witsel, Fellaini; De Bruyne, Lukaku, Hazard
- France put in a great defensive shift to nullify Belgium with Paul Pogba showing great defensive awareness to cover Fellaini’s runs down the half spaces. Kante covered De Bruyne down the centre while Pogba showed awareness to help Pavard out with Hazard when the situation need be. He was crucial in creating 2v1s against Hazard with Pavard looking out of sorts against the Belgian early in the game
- Antoine Griezmann, in particular, and Pogba were vital for France in evading the Belgian counter press with quick, one/two touch releases into space and bring the game back to a tempo they would be comfortable in. Griezmann’s defensive acumen and link up play were on show, being vital in breaking the pressure and easing it for the likes of Mbappe and Pavard to move into space. Belgium could not maintain a steady rhythm against this and were forced to retreat due to the threat on the wings posed by the French.
The match turned out a bit on the predictable side as Belgium could not exploit France the same way they did against Brazil earlier in the quarterfinals. It was also a strong defensive performance, both as a unit and individually from France as they were able to assert their dominance in that regard here. They shall now await the winner of the England Croatia game from tomorrow to see who they face off in the final for the coveted trophy and become the champions.
Read our preview on this semifinal match to see more on the patterns that emerged throughout the match and how France’s counterpressing and attacking patterns were spot on for the game, that helped them win here