Umtiti heads France into World Cup final

A 51st  minute header by Samuel Umtiti has sent France into the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The goal gave France a 1-0 win over Belgium in the first semi-final game of the tournament in Russia.

The goal at Saint-Petersburg on Tuesday is only the third for the FC Barcelona defender in his international career.

Playing in front of a packed stadium, which had in attendance French President Emmanuel Macron, Les Bleus had to be plunged into a defence mode by the Red Devils, whose goal-scoring record in the tournament is unparalled.

They had put a total of 14 goals in their opponents’ net before getting to the semi-final stage.

The 1998 champions were obviously going to play on the counter with youngster Kylian Mbappe as the arrowhead.

Splashes of Didier Deschamps counter strategy was seen but Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezemann fluffed it in the final third.

Unfortunately for the Belgians, they had not kept a clean sheet in all knock-out matches they have played in the history of the world cup.

The two neighbours could not break each other till the break as it became clear only a set-piece could bring a separator.

And it did five minutes after the break.

Giroud’s attempt on goal forced a corner kick, which proved invaluable to the French.

Umtiti rose above Marouane Fellaini to head the ball past Thibaut Courtois for the opening and only goal of the game.

Try as Belgium did, the equaliser never came.

France will face England or Croatia in Sunday’s final

France will play in Sunday’s final against the winner of the England-Croatia semi-final game on Wednesday.

The final will be France’s second in 12 years, after losing the 2006 edition to Italy on penalties.

By Emmanuel Kwame Amoh||Ghana


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