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France turn in excellent all-around performance, beat Belgium to make World Cup final

Kylian Mbappe dazzled and France’s defense impressed in their semifinal victory.

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Belgium v France: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Final score: France 1-0 Belgium

What was once a wide open game got quite a bit tighter once France went ahead. With a litany of superb defensive players at his disposal, Didier Deschamps shut up shop following Samuel Umtiti’s goal, and Belgium’s chances dried up quickly. Eden Hazard will be left wondering if he could have done better with any of the excellent opportunities he had to score in the first half.

Even though he didn’t score or assist on the day, Kylian Mbappe was the story of the game. He dazzled with flicks, tricks and stunning sprints past defenders, though none of his teammates could finish off his passes.

France now heads to its third World Cup final and awaits the winner of England vs. Croatia.

56’ — Oh my god watch this pass by Kylian Mbappe

omg omg omg omg omg omg omg

GOAL Samuel Umtiti! France 1-0 Belgium

After all the brilliant attacking play in this game, it’s a set piece that finally kicks off the scoring. Samuel Umtiti rose up above Marouane Fellaini, who isn’t used to getting beaten in the air too often, and headed it into the goal.

Halftime score: France 0-0 Belgium

With all the brilliant attacking talent on both sides, it’s easy to forget that both of these teams also have world class center backs and goalkeepers. This game isn’t 0-0 for a lack of chances, but due to some sensational last-ditch defending and goalkeeping. Eden Hazard and Kylian Mbappe have been the most lively players on the pitch, but haven’t been able to convert their brilliant runs to goals.

If the second half is anything like the first, it’s hard to envision the game staying scoreless.

39’ — Brilliant save by Thibaut Courtois

Benjamin Pavard looked like he had his second brilliant goal of the tournament, but Courtois came up with a brilliant stop. Both teams have had a lot of chances to score, but the goalkeepers have been outstanding.

19’ — Hazard again!

What a header by Raphäel Varane to put this one out for a corner.

15’ — Eden Hazard shoots just wide

It’s been a lively start, with half-chances for both teams. The best one has been this shot by Eden Hazard.

Eternal tinkerman Roberto Martinez has changed up his team again. Mousa Dembele has finally been introduced, but not in his preferred midfield position. Belgium will be playing him as a wingback. France has just one change, re-introducing Blaise Matuidi, who was suspended for the quarterfinal.

France vs. Belgium lineups

The 2018 World Cup is down to just four teams now as France and Belgium begin the semifinals matches on Tuesday. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. ET at the Saint Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, and you can watch it on Fox and Telemundo. Online streaming is available in English through Fox Sports Go here or in Spanish through Telemundo here.

In France’s 14 World Cup appearances, they have advanced to five semifinals and two finals appearances, with one championship title. Belgium has 12 World Cup appearances, but has only advanced to one semifinals and have never advanced to the finals.

The winner of this match will secure a spot in the finals match, while the other team will earn a spot to play in the third-place match.

France vs. Belgium Time, TV channel, and streaming info

Time: 2 p.m. ET

Location: Saint Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg, Russia

TV: Fox (English), NBCSN (Spanish)

Streaming: Watch the game on Fox Sports Go (English) and Telemundo Deportes en vivo (Spanish) for free if you sign in with your TV provider. It’s also on subscription services like Fubo and Hulu.

Odds: EV (Full odds at OddsShark)

France vs. Belgium news to read before kickoff

How I learned to stop worrying and love Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez has broken me. The Belgium manager did it again on Friday, beating giants Brazil 2-1 in their World Cup quarterfinal matchup. He did it playing a never-before-used lineup, featuring multiple people playing out of position, yet another hard-to-understand decision that ended up working out brilliantly for the manager.

France may never live up to their potential, but they’re winning

This French team may never be the team that we want it to be. Every time their lineup is released, there’s surprise and contempt for what France manager Didier Deschamps has decided is the perfect starting eleven for the match.