Uruguayan Cunha to referee France v Belgium semi-final

World Cup Expansive Belgium versus pragmatic France could decide the 2018 champions

Uruguayan Cunha to referee France v Belgium semi-final

For the generation of Hazard, De Bruyne, and Romelu Lukaku, beating Brazil in the quarter-finals was meant to be the breakthrough en route to winning a major tournament.

Mbappe, Hazard and Neymar were identified as the most likely targets and after his performance in the World Cup semi-final, the exceptional French youngster seems like the ideal fit for Ronaldo's shoes. The Red Devils and Les Bleus are competing for a spot in the World Cup final, and both teams are bringing world-class attacking talent to the match.

Final: France 1, Belgium 0.

For all its possession, Belgium - the top scorers in this competition - were unable to break a robust French defense and will rue not capitalizing on its dominant first-half display.

They came from every continent, but the two semifinals will see four European countries fight for bragging rights and more importantly a place in Sunday's World Cup final. It was a close game and it was very tight and it was going to be decided by that bit of luck in front of goal.

Roberto Martinez's tactics played an influential part in Belgium's miraculous 3-2 comeback victory against Japan and comprehensive 2-1 victory against Brazil in the quarter-finals.

Six minutes of injury time provided Belgium with hope but France ran the clock down and nearly made it 2-0 as Griezmann and then Corentin Tolisso's shots were well saved by Courtois.

'I think the attitude and commitment of the players was magnificent.

Meanwhile, France coach Didier Deschamps is confident he has prepared his players for any tactical surprises his opposite number Martinez might spring.

Samuel Umtiti was the hero of the night; the Barcelona defender headed in a 51st-minute corner, getting the better of Manchester United's Marouane Fellaini in the air to nod in a corner from Antoine Griezmann to secure France's passage to Moscow. De Bruyne just missed out on end-of-season honors from the players' and writers because of Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah's goal glut.

Mbappe gave an early signal of intent when he embarked upon a fleet-footed run within seconds of the kick-off, and would go on to torment the Belgium defence throughout.

Deschamps was his captain when Henry, as a 20-year-old, started with three goals during their 1998 World Cup campaign. Dubbed by many as the two best teams left in the competition, we could be in line for a thrilling encounter between two attacking-minded teams.

For the die-hard France fans, there's one twist that makes this semifinal convincing. The Chelsea forward pulled the first attempt of goal just beyond the far post, but his next effort was arrowing into the top corner until it flicked off Varane's head and deflected just over.

"Damn set piece, that's all I can say, " Kompany said.

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