The contrast in emotion was stark at full time as Samuel Umtiti roared in ecstasy next to a miserable Romelu Lukaku
France lie in wait for either England or Croatia after Samuel Umtiti’s second half header was enough to launch Les Bleus into World Cup final.
The first half finished goalless though both Thibaut Courtois and Hugo Lloris pulled off outstanding saves to keep the scores level at the break.
Umtiti then put France ahead, heading in from a corner to send the Les Bleus fans wild. Belgium pushed hard for a response but the French rearguard was heroic and all the attacking talent on show for the Red Devils couldn’t find a way through.
Umtiti headed France into the lead after jumping across Marouane Fellaini before glancing his finish home
The French players celebrated with the centre-back after breaking the deadlock in a tight, tense semi-final
The Barcelona defender timed his run to perfection and Thibaut Courtois could not react in time to make the stop
Paul Pogba’s face said it all as the tension was released in one moment with Les Bleus taking control of the game
As has so often been the case at this World Cup, a set piece proved to be vital with France scoring from a corner
Fellaini trudged back to the halfway line to restart the game as Didier Deschamps’ side came together in celebration
An aerial shot perfectly illustrates the angle of Umtiti’s finish after he managed to get wrong-side of the defen
Olivier Giroud had a golden opportunity to break the deadlock but was a step too slow to take advantage of the chance
The Chelsea and Belgium goalkeeper was a dependable presence in goal and kept the French at bay in the first half
Eden Hazard was electric for Roberto Martinez’s side and the France defence struggled to handle him going forward
Hugo Lloris was at full stretch to parry Toby Alderweireld’s snap shot around the post following a Belgium corner
The ball is fired narrowly wide of Lloris’ post and neither team managed to open the scoring in the first 45 minutes
Paul Pogba put a ball through for Kylian Mbappe and the rapid striker almost latched onto it but Courtois gathered
Blaise Matuidi attempts to keep the ball in play as West Brom winger Nacer Chadli attempted to guide it out
Maroune Fellaini narrowly missed getting on the end of a whipped delivery but Lloris punched it clear
Les Bleus lie in wait for either England or Croatia and will be formidable opposition for either team
Deschamps embraced his central defender on full time after the French held off a late rally from the Belgium team