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World Cup 2018: 5 best and worst players as France beat Belgium

Akshaj Sinha
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
4.02K   //    11 Jul 2018, 12:27 IST

Belgium v France: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
France celebrate after advancing to their third World Cup final

France defeated Belgium 1-0 in the semi-final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and reached yet another tournament final in three years, after coming runners up in Euro 2016.

A second-half header from Samuel Umtiti proved to be the only goal and the match-winner as the Belgian Red Devils failed to convert their dominance and break a tight French defence as their 24 match unbeaten streak in international football came to an end.

France will await the winner of the second semi-final game between England and Croatia and meet them on July 15 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow while Belgium still remains in the tournament and will battle it out for the third/fourth place position a day prior to the final.

On that note, here are the hits and flops from semi-final 1.


#5 Best - Blaise Matuidi

France v Belgium - Semi-Final : FIFA World Cup 2018
Matuidi's return to midfield was immense for France

Blaise Matuidi made a timely comeback to the starting lineup from his suspension and France reaped the rewards. Deployed wide left in an unfamiliar and new role, the midfielder made his influence known on both ends of the pitch.

Despite having a fairly lesser impact going forward, Matuidi did have three attempts at goal that tested Thibaut Courtois and made a couple of key passes in the final third. His crossing was a let-down but he made up for it with his excellent defensive commitment.

Matuidi's tracking back in defence helped cover up for fullback Lucas Hernandez, who got caught out of position at times while making his overlapping runs.

The experienced French international made six successful tackles and three interceptions throughout as well as winning a couple of aerial duels.

Blaise Matuidi's toil and energy helped disrupt Belgium's momentum as many of their passes were getting broken up outside the box and they were forced to restart.

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Akshaj Sinha
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