Didier Deschamps credits France's effort in defence for win over Belgium

Kevin de Bruyne says Martinez has instilled much-need belief in Belgium's players

Mbappe appeared risky throughout, creating six scoring chances for his side, who will wait the winners of Wednesday's other semi between England and Croatia.

The France midfielder took to Twitter shortly after France beat Belgium late Tuesday to advance to the World Cup final.

He said he was convinced that win or lose on Wednesday, his team had a bright future after decades of English under-achievement on the global stage. "I don't have the words".

"It's me that scored", Umtiti said, "but we all delivered a big game".

When Deschamps took off [Olivier] Giroud to bring on [Stephen] N'Zonzi, then Pogba had more freedom but freedom not to do silly things.

Paul Pogba has impressed for France at the World Cup.

France President Emmanuel Macron was on hand for the game in St Petersburg and came down to the dressing room to celebrate with the players and staff.

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The 6ft 3in colossus is yet to open his goal-scoring account at the World Cup this summer, but manager Didier Deschamps likes him due to his hold-up play.

"I'm not saying that I'm not proud of what we did all together 20 years ago".

And so, at that stage of the World Cup where every day without a match feels inexorably pointless - we awake with a spring in our step, and hope in our heart, because football, dear reader, is back once more.

Center back Samuel Umtiti put France on the board in the 51st minute with a header off of a corner, and the team managed to hold that narrow lead for the last 40 minutes and change.

"A lot of pride", said the defender.

"(France is) very good defensively, and I think they're playing like the best team in the world right now", said Gobert, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the National Basketball Association. We savour [the win] a little, but we must now focus on the final.

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