France beat Belgium's 'golden generation' to reach World Cup final

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While Hazard blossomed drifting in from the left, De Bruyne struggled to get hold of the ball as much as he did when Belgium knocked out Brazil in the quarter-final, and the Manchester City man found himself struggling for significant space in front of him, unlike in the Brazil victory.

Henry, World Cup victor in 1998 with Les Bleus, is assistant coach to Roberto Martinez, manager of Belgium, beaten 1-0 in the semifinals this morning.

A goal scored on a header early in the second half by Samuel Umtiti, combined with a brilliant defensive performance was enough to carry France past Belgium 1-0 in Tuesday's semifinal in Saint Petersburg.

In a tournament dominated by goals from set pieces, France's goal came off a corner when Griezmann curled in the ball from the right and Umtiti got in front of tall Belgium midfielder Marouane Fellaini to knock in his header at the near post. We can be very happy and lucky that we can have the team what we have.

Croatia will need to be wary of England at corners and free-kicks, but they also have players who look capable of giving Southgate's defence their most serious test of the tournament. "You have to accept it and congratulate France and wish them luck in the final". One change forced on Martinez is at right back where he will have to find a replacement for the suspended Thomas Meunier.

It was a frustrating night for Roberto Martinez's side.

"I didn't see France running away with the game", Martinez added. "It just came down to very small margins - the first goal was going to be vital".

The result means France can set their sights on Moscow and a third World Cup final, where either England or Croatia stand between them and football's greatest prize, while it will be bronze at best for Belgium's golden generation.

"We could easily have frozen". "I don't want any of my players to be frustrated and disappointed".

One attractive trick in the 57th minute left little doubt about whose night it was as Mbappe played in teammate Olivier Giroud with the kind of pass that you only ever see in video games from the Federation Internationale de Football Association franchise.

The result will be a tough one to take for Belgian football who once again see their incredibly talented "Golden Generation" come up short at a major worldwide tournament.

Fortunately, skipper Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku and goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois will all still be in their 20s by the time the next European Championship comes around in 2020.

The Chelsea defensive midfielder has covered huge amounts of ground in this World Cup, but it's not just about distance run.