FRA 1-0 BEL: Umtiti sends Les Blues into World Cup final

World Cup 2018 By: Ikponmwosa Umweni | 10/07/2018

Samuel Umititi sends France to 2018 FIFA World Cup final with 1-0 victory over Belgium in the first semi-final encounter on Tuesday night at Saint Petersburg Stadium in Russia.

The Barcelona center-back headed the only goal in match goal from a corner kick Umtiti loses Alderweireld and rises above Fellaini to head home from close range to puts Les Blues into their third World Cup final, all of which have come in the past 20 years.

France would be waiting for the winner between either England or Croatia on Sunday inMoscow 

First Half 

The first effort of the game comes from Belgium as France give the ball away carelessly. De Bruyne is immediately in there and pokes the ball to Hazard, who drills a low strike a yard or so wide of the far post.

France respond with the first shot on target of the match as the ball comes out to Matuidi around 25 yards from goal and he powers an effort towards goal, but it is easy enough for Courtois to deal with.

The ball breaks to the Belgian captain wide on the left of the box - he lines up a low shot across Lloris, but it slides wide of the keeper's left-hand post. Hazard was unlikely to beat Lloris from there, but it's the first real opening of the match.

A corner falls for Alderweireld to swivel and shoot at goal - the Belgian defender does everything right as he pings an effort high to Lloris' right, but the French keeper pulls off another stunning World Cup save by flinging himself at the ball and just about tipping it wide at full stretch.

Griezmann spots Mbappe with a stunning pass over the top, and the young forward tees up Giroud with a lovely cushioned pass across goal... but Giroud slips and can't finish.

Another big chance for France as Mbappe pokes the ball into the path of Pavard as the right-back gets in behind the Belgians and has time to pick his spot... but Courtois manages to get a leg to the ball and deflect it away.

De Bruyne whips another fine ball into the box which Umtiti misses, and Lukaku cannot react in time as the ball hits him and goes behind for a goal kick.

Second Half 

Belgium have started brightly, and Lukaku should do better with the first chance of the half as Witsel crosses and finds the striker, but the  Manchester United man can only head over when well placed.

First blood to France as Griezmann whips a corner from right with Umtiti darts to the front post above Fellaini before glancing a header past Belgium goalkeeper Courtois at the near post to make 1-0 for the Les Bleus. 

France break at lightning pace through Mbappe feeds Matuidi, but his shot is blocked out and falls on PSG star who manages to pull off one of the great moments of the tournament with a stunning backheel turn to pass the ball to Giroud, but Dembele makes a superb last-ditch block to deny the striker.

Substitute Mertens has made an impact already here, and he swings a good cross into the box which Fellaini meets with a powerful downward header which bounces just wide of the target.

France sat back and looked to use the pace Mbappe on the counter attack but were almost caught out as Hazard forced a wonderful tackle from Varane and Lloris had to beat away a vicious shot on the followup from Witsel.

De Bruyne's stunning pass floated just too long for Lukaku to put a finishing touch to.

France ran the clock down and almost made it 2-0 as Griezmann and then Corentin Tolisso's shots were well saved by Courtois/