Deschamps reveals why France beat Belgium in semi-final clash

Deschamps reveals why France beat Belgium in semi-final clash

Martinez still has the foundations of a potentially great team.

They were moments to drop the jaw and draw the breath, visions of the heights this French generation - now one win away from being crowned champion of the world - might yet scale, images of what this team of all the talents could, and perhaps should, be.

This meant that as Chadli pushed forward, spaces appeared for France's Blaise Matuidi to break through into the box. And then Samuel Umtiti scored - slipping his marker to meet Griezmann's corner - and France drew back once more, content to contain and control.

Coach Roberto Martinez now must build on Belgium's best World Cup showing since the country lost another semifinal to Diego Maradona-led Argentina in 1986. I am proud of my players. His only silverware in club competitions involving top division sides was the FA Cup win with Wigan Athletic in the 2012-13 season.

But how and where to best use Mbappé is a good problem to have.

"All players need to be mentioned but it's true that Pogba was nearly everywhere, not only in attack but he was also efficient in defence", Deschamps told the media (via Goal).

What happened to Belgium's star players?

That said, I must admit that I don't think the Red Devils deserved to win yesterday.

"France won and we have to congratulate them but there was very little between us and that is disappointing".

In the first half, Belgium's lopsided formation offered a glimpse of what it could offer.

But errors crept in.

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Absolutely, the electric presence of Kylian Mbappé and the occasional flashes of brilliance from Pogba and Griezmann have had their part in affecting France's run through this tournament, but what has made them successful in their current iteration is a togetherness and a doggedness. Furthermore, direct passes from France kept meeting targets behind the Belgian defence as it pushed up.

"I was there two years ago and it was so painful that we want to taste the victory now". Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Toby Alderweireld and many others took similarly precocious paths. It was an unlikely goalscorer Umitti became the hero of France for the day and spoiled the party for Belgium.

It was the worst possible time for the most prolific attack of Russian Federation 2018 to lose their touch in front of goal, their threat blunted by a defensive wall expertly constructed by Didier Deschamps.

Once the second half got underway, there wasn't long to wait for the deadlock to be broken and, considering the amount of set-piece goals scored at Russian Federation 2018, it should not have been a surprise that the opener came from a corner.

Midfielder Mousa Dembele came into their starting line-up, yet Martinez's side seemed to miss the attacking thrust of Meunier down the flank.

80': Marouane Fellaini comes off, Yannick Carrasco comes in.

Hope still glimmered for Belgium, even as the clock ticked past 90 minutes.

Early in the second half, Les Blues got a corner and it was swung towards the near post by Antoine Griezmann.

Belgium was left Tuesday still clinging to the elusive ambition of reaching a first World Cup final. Martinez analysed, "It was a very close-fought match". "We did what we had to do", said De Bruyne. The doubts will return yet again.

Belgium still has a match to play on Saturday for third place.

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