FIFA World Cup: France edge past formidable Belgium to book spot in final

Published: 11th July 2018 04:34 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th July 2018 04:47 AM  

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France's Samuel Umtiti, right celebrates with teammates France's Adil Rami, centre and France's Paul Pogba after defeating Belgium in their semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in, St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. | AP
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In Caption: Belgium's Jan Vertonghen, right, and Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne stand at the end of the semifinal match. | (AP) In a World Cup replete with set-piece goals, a corner again proved decisive when Umtiti timed his run perfectly to meet Antoine Griezmann's delivery six minutes into the second half.
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In Caption: France's Samuel Umtiti, (5) heads the ball to score the opening goal of the game. | (AP) Didier Deschamps' men ended the opening period on top, but again Olivier Giroud looked short of confidence as the focal point of the French attack.
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In Caption: France's Olivier Giroud, left, tries to control the ball with Belgium's Vincent Kompany during the match. | (AP) Giroud did at least have a part to play in the decisive opener as, after his shot was deflected wide, Griezmann's corner was flicked in at the near post by Umtiti.
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In Caption: Belgium's Eden Hazard, left, is tackled by France's Paul Pogba. | (AP) One of the Red Devils' many French connections was the biggest danger as Hazard, who began his career with Lille in Ligue 1, pulled the first attempt of goal just beyond the far post.
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In Caption: France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris goes for the ball during the semifinal match. | (AP) Les Bleus were thankful for fine saves from Lloris either side of half-time.
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In Caption: France's Samuel Umtiti celebrates past Belgium's Romelu Lukaku. | (AP) Once in front, France had even more space to exploit Kylian Mbappe's pace, but it was a majestic piece of skill that nearly created a second with a backheel that again freed Giroud only for Mousa Dembele to block.
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In Caption: France head coach Didier Deschamps greets Belgium's Marouane Fellaini at the end of the semifinal match. | (AP) The Les Bleus will aim to make amends for defeat on home soil in the final of Euro 2016 in Sunday's showpiece against England or Croatia.
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