Umtiti puts France in front

2018 FIFA World Cup Prediction: France vs Belgium

World Cup 2018: Live Stream, TV Schedule for Tuesday's Semi-Final Game

France advanced to the 2018 FIFA World Cup final after beating Belgium 1-0 in the semifinals at Saint Petersburg Stadium in Saint Petersburg, Russia Tuesday.

The game will feature plenty of talented attackers and has the potential to be one of the most exciting games of the competition.

But the potent Belgian attack gradually faded as France's rock-solid defense handed Belgium its first shutout of the tournament. Les Bleus topped Group C without really convincing, but knockout-stage wins over Argentina and Uruguay have enhanced their credentials as serious contenders. Happy to cede possession, the French relied on a smash-and-grab job and Kylian Mbappe nearly delivered when he out-ran the much senior Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen in the 13th minute, but Courtois was alert enough to rush out and forestall the hazard.

Belgium ultimately didn't do enough in the game to produce its own goal, and France is deservedly in its third final going back to 1998. Normally, the No. 3 member of anyone's coaching staff is known only to people who probably need either a second job or a first one, and could walk many a street unrecognized.

Though a very different player from the elegant Frenchman, the powerfully built Lukaku showed a touch of Henry in his intelligent dummy that allowed the ball to run through to Nacer Chadli to score Belgium's victor in the thrilling come-from-behind 3-2 win over Japan in the last 16.

"It is definitely better to start as assistant in a national team, even if he was hoping it would be in Arsenal's staff", Le Graet said.

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.

"It's essential to have a player like Kevin - that he can play different roles, " Martinez said Monday, on the eve of the semifinal.

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Deschamps now has the chance to become the third person to win the World Cup as a player and a coach, after Germany great Franz Beckenbauer and Brazil's Mario Zagallo.

Yet while Hazard - Belgium's captain - faded after a strong opening 30 minutes, Mbappe was a constant threat.

Moments later, it was a chance at the other end with De Bruyne scurrying a pass - inside the box - to Eden Hazard, whose strike, however, was not up to the mark.

Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez have grown as the tournament has worn on, but the real heroes have been Raphael Varane and Sam Umtiti.

On a night when there was little separating the two teams, set-piece execution in front of the goal once again made the difference.

France came through their quarter-final unscathed, and Deschamps has his entire squad to choose from, while Belgium are only slightly worse off.

As Griezmann floated in the ball from the corner, Samuel Umtiti ran away from his marker, out-jumped the much taller Marouane Fellaini and headed in, sending the French crowd behind the goal into delirium in the 51st minute. Of course, there are no guarantees in the World Cup, especially in 2018.

At 21 minutes in Belgium took a corner which fell to Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld, who swiftly turned to take his shot leading to a superb save from French keeper and Tottenham team-mate Hugo Lloris.

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