Still smarting from France loss, Belgium looks toward Euros


France is back in the World Cup final for the first time since Zinedine Zidane's headbutt in 2006.

However, Belgium had chances throughout the game, but it was not Romelu Lukaku's day as he hardly got hold of the ball.

Belgium had the chance to make history on Tuesday night against France in the first semi-final of the World Cup.

No matter if they end up facing England or Croatia, "they'll be the favourites for the ultimate title", the paper claimed, dubbing the team "The Incredibles". Here is how it all unfolded. I play against teams that play so defensively 90 per cent of the time.

80': Marouane Fellaini comes off, Yannick Carrasco comes in. "We did what we had to do", said De Bruyne.

70': Toby Alderwiereld gets a yellow card.

Martinez introduced an extra attacker in Dries Mertens in an attempt to turn the tide and he almost had an immediate impact as his cross was headed inches wide by Marouane Fellaini. They are so assured in defense that none of those single-goal victories felt at all close, or tense; they all seemed to be over long before the final whistle. He pursued, "In the second half, we started well, with greater pace and they scored against us. That one goal made the difference", he said.

37': Oliver Giroud is down with an injury.

France started the tournament in Russian Federation slowly, struggling for goals in the group stages but hit their stride in an impressive 4-3 victory against Lionel Messi's Argentina in the first knockout round.

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16': Hazard narrowly misses the goal as his shot is mistimed.

Mbappe was in full stride once again with 13 minutes gone, prompting keeper Thibaut Courtois to race from his line to intervene after Paul Pogba had eluded Moussa Dembele and charged forward before feeding the ball into his path. Furthermore, direct passes from France kept meeting targets behind the Belgian defence as it pushed up. The match ended 1-0 for France.

Kylian Mbappe fired unconvincing France into the World Cup knockout stages after a nervy 1-0 win over plucky Peru. Belgium had beaten Brazil in the quarter-finals but were hindered by the absence of suspended right-back Thomas Meunier against the French.

Throughout this World Cup, if there's one criticism we've heard directed at France, it's that it hasn't looked overly impressive, despite winning five of its six matches and drawing the other.

Henry is now one of the assistant coaches of Belgium, and was part of the Les Bleus team that won the trophy back in 1998.

Mbappe is renowned for being so calm and composed for such a young man and his post-match comments about Belgium's players moaning also showed he has a winner's mentality.

Belgium was left Tuesday still clinging to the elusive ambition of reaching a first World Cup final. However, this match will be considered more than the stats, especially given the fact that the Red Devils have not reached the final.

"It's too early to make a sort of assessment of (this) tournament at the moment, we need to focus on that final game, coming back to St Petersburg and facing the opportunity of fighting for that third place".