France is going to the World Cup final for the first time since 2006. France is more eager than ever to avenge what happened in the 2006 World Cup final against Italy and the Euro 16 final against Portugal, which was on home soil. France is focused, motivated, and ready to win their second World title.
Here are five things we saw in this match:
- Both teams brought their A games: France and Belgium were really at their best coming into this game. Both teams were focused, disciplined, and ready to play. They were both ready for anything. Both teams stepped on the pitch and immediately after the first whistle, they began fighting tooth and nail. Both teams refused to allow the other to outshine them. But in the end, only one team can be declared the winner.
- France made errors that could have changed the game: On numerous occasions, France had chances to launch a scoring attempt, but they would delay the passes and hold on to the ball too long, which would allow Belgium to counterattack and attempt scoring threats of their own. France’s only goal of the game was via a header by defender Samuel Umtiti. France had numerous chances to increase their lead but they couldn’t do it as Belgian goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois managed to make amazing saves. Regardless, France made a few brilliant passes here and there and did anything they could to combat the effects of the iron solid Belgian defense.
- France’s defense showed up: The brilliant Belgian attack was a legitimate threat, meaning France’s brilliant defense was going to take on their biggest challenge in the tournament. The Belgian duo of Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard was not to be taken lightly as they’re perfectly capable of taking advantage of the smallest mistakes an opposing defense could make. France’s defense was well-organized and showed strong resilience as they would manage to find a way out even when Belgium was inches away from scoring. The key for the success of the French defense was focused. The focus is the reason they’ve made it far in the knockout stage. But give credit to French goalkeeper, Hugo Lloris as he made a few fantastic saves.
- Belgium’s defense showed up, as well: The French attack duo of Antoine Griezmann, Corentin Tolisso, Olivier Giroud, and Kylian Mbappe all had a chance to easily score only to be foiled by the fearsome Belgian defense. France and Belgium’s defense truly looked evenly matched, which is likely the reason the game only saw one goal. Again, France scored on a header via a corner kick. Belgium’s defense was all over France’s attack and while France refused to allow the pressure to stop them, they couldn’t pull through at the end despite creating some penetration. Like France, Belgium’s defense found a way out at the last second during scoring threats launched by the French.
- The game ended differently than expected: The game truly went the way it was supposed to go but it ended perhaps too early. As both defenses were so dangerous and evenly matched, it was strongly believed that the game would not be decided in regulation or extra time. Both defenses were capable of frustrating the opposing attacks. Realistically, the game was to be decided on penalty kicks. That being said, France got lucky and at one point a player was at the right place and the right time and that’s how France put themselves on the scoreboard. France’s strong and solid defense is the reason for the French victory.
The final is on Sunday, and France is taking on the winner of the second semifinal match between England and Croatia. France is one win away from being crowned World Champions. France is looking to win their second title on the 20-year anniversary of their first title win.