Monday, September 24, 2018 | ePaper

Umtiti header sends streetwise France into World Cup final

  • Print


Samuel Umtiti's 51st-minute header sent an impressive France into the World Cup final with a 1-0 win over Belgium in an absorbing first semi-final on Tuesday.



Didier Deschamps' side will face England or Croatia in Moscow on Sunday as the French look to lift the trophy for the second time following their triumph on home soil in 1998.

In an enthralling, albeit highly tactical rather than incident-packed match, it was once again a set-piece that proved decisive with Umtiti's near-post header from an Antoine Griezmann corner settling matters.

Having gained the lead, France showed the defensive nous to nullify the threat from Belgium's Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, closing out the game for a win that sent them to their second straight major tournament final, following their loss to Portugal in Euro 2016.

It had been suggested that France needed to step up a level in quality if they were to get past the Belgians and they did just that.

But the worrying factor for whoever wins Wednesday's game in Moscow is that France still look to have another gear to move into.

Deschamps, coach at Euro 2016 and captain of the 1998 World Cup winners, suggested as much.

"We showed character and mentality, it was very hard for us tonight. We worked hard defensively, we needed to take advantage a bit more in the counter-attacks but congratulations to my players and my staff," he said.


Belgium manager Roberto Martinez was left frustrated by his team missing out to a set-piece goal, a familiar outcome in this tournament.

"Unfortunately for us the difference was a dead-ball situation. The game was very close, very tight and it was going to be decided by a little bit of luck in front of goal," he said.

EARLY CONTROL

Belgium took early control of midfield with France content to sit deep and eliminate the threat of counter-attacks Hazard and De Bruyne.

But it was by no means a purely negative approach as the French offered their own danger on the break, perfectly illustrated when Paul Pogba’s delivery sent Kylian Mbappe racing towards goal and Belgium were thankful their keeper Thibaut Courtois was alert to snuff out the danger.

The first real opening came in the 16th minute when De Bruyne hooked the ball into the path of Hazard whose shot was just wide of Huge Lloris’s far post.

Hazard was dangerous 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.

From a Belgium corner, Toby Alderweireld tested Lloris with a smart shot on the turn but as the half progressed France began to create more.

Olivier Giroud flashed a header just wide and Mbappe set up Benjamin Pavard whose low shot was kept out by the outstretched leg of Courtois.

It was a fascinating first half and all that was missing was a goal but one came soon after the break.

From Griezmann's corner, Umtiti beat Marouane Fellaini at the near post and powered a header home to put France ahead.

Fellaini flashed a header just wide and Axel Witsel forced a good save out of Lloris as Belgium pushed forward for an equaliser and France hung on in six minutes of stoppage-time to reach their third World Cup final. --Reuters

More News For this Category

Corruption at Mongla, Burimari Ports  rampant: TIB

Corruption at Mongla, Burimari Ports rampant: TIB

Staff Reporter :Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) has reveled a study report about the corruption scenario in the country's second seaport; Mongla and the land port, Burimari saying that businessmen are

BB team to tackle cyber hacking round the clock

Special Correspondent :The central bank last week formed a four-member cyber security team amid growing concern over cyber hacking in its systems, which often lead to financial misappropriation through SWIFT

Writ seeks commission to probe 4000 fictitious cases against BNP men

Staff Reporter :Three Pro-BNP lawyers on Sunday filed a writ petition with the High Court seeking its directive on the government to form a high-powered commission to investigate the authenticity

Form poll-time govt, reform EC before nat`l polls: Dr. Kamal

Gono Forum President Dr. Kamal Hossain on Sunday urged the government to form a neutral poll-time government and reconstitute the Election Commission (EC) before the upcoming general election.He also strongly

Accused brought back from UAE

UNB, Narayanganj :An accused in the schoolgirl Monalisa murder case who was arrested by Interpol in the UAE was handed over to Bangladesh police on Sunday.The International Criminal Police Organization

 Demo for drinking water in Gazipur

Demo for drinking water in Gazipur

Md Joynal Abedin Khan with Mehidi Hasan Biplob :Several thousand Readymade Garment (RMG) workers have vowed to continue fight for pure drinking water in all factories across the country.Thousands of

US rejects Iran blame over parade attack

WASHINGTON (Reuters) :U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Sunday rejected Iranian fingerpointing at Washington over a deadly parade attack, saying Iranian leaders should look closer to home.Before

Mahmudullah Riyad of Bangladesh plays a shot during the super four match of the Asia Cup between Bangladesh and Afghanistan at Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Bangladesh scored 249 for the loss of seven wickets in the allotted 50 overs thanks to Mahmudullah, who notched up the team's highest of 74.

Mahmudullah Riyad of Bangladesh plays a shot during the super four match of the Asia Cup between Bangladesh and Afghanistan at Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Bangladesh scored 249 for the loss of seven wickets in the allotted 50 overs thanks to Mahmudullah, who notched up the team's highest of 74.

Mother 'hacked to death' by 'drug addict' son

UNB, Kushtia :A woman was reportedly hacked to death by her 'drug addict' son in Angdia village of Daulatpur upazila on Sunday morning.The deceased was identified as Banera Khatun, 45,

We are ready for war, but choose to walk path of peace: Pakistan Army

Dawn.com :Moments after Times of India reported inflammatory statements by Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat on Saturday, the Pakistan Army spokesperson responded by saying: "We [Pakistan Army] are ready