World Cup 2018: 3 reasons why France beat Belgium 1-0 in the semifinals
Didier Deschamp's France trumped Belgium to a final spot by a goal to nothing, guiding the Les Blues to their third World Cup final. With the game looking tight, it took 51 minutes for the French side to find the opening goal and there was no looking back ever since.
Antoine Griezmann lobbed in a telling cross from a corner and Samuel Umtiti rose above an in-form Marouane Fellaini to head the ball past Thibaut Courtois, who just couldn't react in time.
Belgium wasn't too keen on letting things stay the way they were and kept knocking on their doors, but France's defence stayed tight and decided to play on the counter. The French held on to seal a historic win over the Diables Rouge and are set to face either Croatia or England in the World Cup final at the Luzhniki Stadium.
Here are the three reasons why France confidently dispatched a talented Belgian side:
#3 Roberto Martinez failed to find a solution after losing Thomas Meunier
The wing-back has been in excellent form for the Red Devils and picked up a yellow-card against Brazil in the previous round, suspending him from the semi-final.
Many expected Roberto Martinez to maybe switch back to a four-man defence but the Spaniard persisted with 3-4-3.
In came Nacer Chadli, ensuring that Mousa Dembele cemented his spot in the middle. The French took full advantage of this confusion, with the Belgian midfield often being caught sleeping and just a second behind the French attackers.
Pogba and Kante helped the attack transition seamlessly, ensuring that the Belgian midfield often found themselves in an uncomfortable position.
It's pretty clear that Dembele himself will be singled out for putting in yet another poor performance with his national side, which has seen him sidelined for quite a while.
A lack of Meunier also meant that Lucas Hernandez was never tested on the left as the Belgian wing-back has so often done in previous games.
His darting runs have given the Belgian's the width they have required while also providing them with a creative outlet via aerial balls. All this came crashing down and the French left-back had a relatively comfortable game in his hands.
The introduction of Dries Mertens was also too late and many would be of the opinion that the Napoli star should have started the game.
He looked increasingly dangerous as the game came to a close, despite a solid French defence ensuring that the Belgian forward's couldn't connect with his crosses.