France vs Belgium Semi-Final Match Highlights:
- France won 1-0
- Umtiti scored the only goal of the match
- France will play the final on the 15th with Belgium the 3rd place match on the 14th
It gave us what we all expected. Well, in the first half atleast. France vs Belgium was expected to enthral us all, leaving us gasping, bedazzled at the attacking football on display. Apart from the first 45 minutes, it turned out to be completely opposite to what we all believed it would be. Turning on the style in the first half, Belgium twisted and turned past the French players, pulling out all the skills and tricks in their arsenal to leave the French running around like headless chickens, unaware how to stop the Belgian riot. However, the only thing missing from Belgium’s game that half was a vital goal. And that is what eventually turned out to be their demise on the night. Despite playing some of the best football on display this tournament, one that was fluid in its passing, converting defence to attack quicker than we could fathom, Belgium ended up on the losing side. Failing to score when they enjoyed the best part of possession and chances, Belgium eventually conceded in the 51st minute after Fellaini was caught napping to let French defender Umtiti sneak up on him and head in the only goal of the match. With France in control from that moment they went about doing what they do best; killing off games. Blaise Matuidi and Kante were rocks in the centre of their midfield once again, blocking and intercepting everything, restricting all of Belgium’s efforts to get into the final third. This and a clear drop in quality from Belgium was enough for France to scrape through on the night.
With Eden Hazard blistering past defenders for fun, leaving them on their backs and Thibaut Courtois playing like a man inspired, what was it that led to Belgium’s fall from glory. After all a team that has scored 15 goals all tournament and was undefeated going into the semi-final, not to forget had knocked-out Brazil too, should have scored atleast one in the biggest match of their lives. Well ultimately it all came down to what we had feared. The incompetence of Roberto Martinez as a manager on the big stage. Persisting with Chadli, Dembele and Fellaini proved too costly for him. While Dembele was easily the worst player on the night, Fellaini was at fault for the goal and Chadli hardly made any difference too. Your team is only as good as the man in charge. While the Belgian side can hold their heads high for treating us to the best football on show this world cup, we hope they change their coach as that is the only missing piece in their puzzle to lift a major trophy.
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