Postmortem for France - Belgium Semifinal

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Postmortem for France - Belgium Semifinal

"It brings back excellent memories, but that was in the final, this is the semifinal".

Belgium goalkeeper Courtois blasts France for their defensive strategy during World Cup semi-final Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois said his team's defeat by France in the World Cup semi-finals on Tuesday was a "shame for football", criticising Didier Deschamps's side for a defensive style of play. As the match ticked into extra time, it was France that was asking the questions.

Waiting for either Croatia or England to face in the final, the French should still ensure that they are on point and stay focused to win the World Cup.

"Vive la France! Vive la Republique!" France was unsafe in the break, but Coach Roberto Martinez made sure that Mbappe was not given space to run.

Belgium was left Tuesday still clinging to the elusive ambition of reaching a first World Cup final.

A Belgium team featuring numerous same stars lost 1-0 to Argentina in the World Cup quarterfinal four years ago and then was shocked 3-1 by Wales in the European Championship quarterfinals two years ago. We are going to do everything to be on the right side and make sure what happened two years ago does not happen again.

It's only the second time in history that Belgium have reached the World Cup semi-finals, 32 years after Diego Maradona's Argentina beat them at the same stage in Mexico in 1986 before going on to win the title. Zidane was sent off in what was his final match.

"The little black spot is of course that goal from a set-piece", Hazard said.

Umtiti headed France into the lead five minutes after the break, rising above Fellaini to head in Griezmann's corner for what would prove the match-winner. "France was no better than us".

Up in the corporate seats, president Macron reacted to the goal by shaking the hand of King Philippe of Belgium as Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino watched on between them.

"We have worked a lot in defence and and the attack".

Raphael Varane was majestic at centre-back.

After his team fell behind, Martinez took off Dembele and pulled De Bruyne back into central midfield, and though Belgium did not get a goal, it controlled the play better and created more chances.

Eden Hazard with the ball at his feet on the edge of the area and Kevin de Bruyne dictating play are unsafe prospects and it was risky business for the French, but when they did get a chance to counter, they were frighteningly quick and equally unsafe. The irony, though, is that rather than be reliant on his tactical nous (or lack thereof, which many have seen as France's undoing and indeed, Deschamps' major fallibility), Deschamps has become a manager, rather than a figurehead. We must remobilise ourselves, recover and try to finish third.

Yet while Hazard - Belgium's captain - faded after a strong opening 30 minutes, Mbappe was a constant threat.

At 19, Mbappe wasn't even born when France won the World Cup for the first and only time with a squad that is just as diverse as the one Deschamps is leading 20 years later. But the teams have the right to play to their strengths.

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