Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Chelsea's Eden Hazard blasts France after Belgium's semifinal ouster

Chelsea's Eden Hazard blasts France after Belgium's semifinal ouster

"We had the ball and I think we have to give a lot of credit to France for the way they defended - they were very deep, they gave us a lot of respect in that way and yet we couldn't find a bit of margin in front of goal, a little bit of luck".

France, who will play the World Cup final for the first time since 2006, will either take on England or Croatia in the summit clash on Sunday.

Twenty years ago, France were crowned champions of the world on home soil and they are seeking a repeat performance in Russian Federation.

Belgium paid the price for failing to take their chances against France but will now have to shake off their disappointment and focus on finishing third at the World Cup, coach Roberto Martinez said after his team's defeat in the semifinal. "It was so painful two years ago we have to savor it". Mbappe, still just 19, has already moved clubs for 180 million euros ($212 million) and the Paris Saint-Germain forward announced himself on the World Cup stage with his brilliant performance in France's 4-3 win over Argentina in the last 16. As France captain, Deschamps raised soccer's most prized trophy in 1998. Goalkeepers Lloris and Thibaut Courtois played a huge part their sides" quarter-final victories and it was only thanks to two of the best "keepers in the world that the game remained goalless at half-time.

France's other hero was goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, who made a spectacular fingertip save in the first half to deny Toby Alderweireld and then kept out Alex Witsel's drive as Belgium cranked up the pressure towards the end of the match.

Centre-back Umtiti scored the only goal in Tuesday's semi-final to condemn Belgium's "golden generation" to the third-place playoff in Russian Federation.

Up in the corporate seats, president Macron reacted to the goal by shaking the hand of King Philippe of Belgium as Federation Internationale de Football Association president Gianni Infantino watched on between them. "The difference between defeat and winning was down to one dead ball situation", said Martinez.

"You are disappointed because you have lost the semi-final, but you need to regroup and recover and see another game as an opportunity".

But De Bruyne's best moments came when he combined with Eden Hazard on the opposite side of the pitch to the one he was stationed on, and Belgium missed his ability to pick a pass, with striker Romelu Lukaku mostly deprived of service.

Deschamps, who was Henry's captain in the French squad that won the 1998 World Cup, said: "Of course, it is a hard situation, it really is not easy for him and it does happen sometimes".

Umtiti was born in Cameroon. But Belgians will now wonder if they have seen the best chance for this talented generation of players to win a major worldwide title.

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