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Samuel Umtiti header puts France in World Cup final with win over Belgium

Tuesday - 10/07/2018 16:08
France’s opponents in the World Cup final on Sunday will be decided tonight, when England face Croatia in Moscow.
Samuel Umtiti celebrates with his teammates after scoring the winner for France in their World Cup semi-final against Belgium in St Petersburg. Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images
Samuel Umtiti celebrates with his teammates after scoring the winner for France in their World Cup semi-final against Belgium in St Petersburg. Photograph: Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

France have booked their place in the World Cup final, after defeating Belgium 1-0 in their semi-final at the St Petersburg Stadium.

Samuel Umtiti delivered the winner for France with his header from Antoine Griezmann’s corner in the second half.

France’s opponents in the World Cup final on Sunday will be decided tonight, when England face Croatia in Moscow.

Blaise Matuidi returned to France’s starting line-up for their World Cup semi-final showdown with Belgium after serving a one-match ban.

World Cup 2018 semi-final: France v Belgium – live! 

The defensive midfielder missed the 2-0 quarter-final victory over Uruguay after collecting his second yellow card of the tournament, but was recalled for the game in St Petersburg in place of Corentin Tolisso.

Belgium defender Thomas Meunier was forced to sit out for the same reason after his caution during the last eight victory over Brazil with midfielder Mousa Dembele taking his place.

Toby Alderweireld came closest to opening the scoring in a tight first half with a 22nd-minute shot on the turn which France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had to claw away at full-stretch.

But although full-back Benjamin Pavard was denied by Thibaut Courtois at the other end five minutes before the break after being played in by the lively Kylian Mbappe, the sides went in at half-time with the deadlock unbroken.

France took the lead six minutes into the second half when Umtiti got to Griezmann’s corner ahead of Marouane Fellaini and saw his header clip the Belgium midfielder on its way into the net.

Daniel Taylor’s match report from the St Petersburg Stadium will follow.

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