French media see World Cup coming home

France Belgium graphic

French media see World Cup coming home

It is natural to think of what might have been, to wonder if a country of just 11 million people could conquer the footballing world.

France's march into the World Cup final dominated the nation's headlines on Wednesday, with many already predicting a second title for "Les Bleus" in Moscow on Sunday no matter who they face.

France coach Didier Deschamps urged his side to seize their chance of redemption in the World Cup final after admitting he has still not got over the pain of defeat in the Euro 2016 final.

France secured a place in the final of the 2018 World Cup when they beat Belgium on Tuesday night in Saint Petersburg.

"It's an awesome feeling [to be in the final] but we already lost a final two years ago and that's why we need to stay with our feet on the floor", he said.

"It is something exceptional".

Don't get me wrong, every team is entitled to play however they want to try and win.

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) - They're young, they're brash and they're collectively worth a billion dollars. They may not play well, but they do defend strongly and are very efficient. If France go on to win their second World Cup, they would owe a big thank you to Umtiti and Varane for their extraordinary defensive work and goals.

Deschamps has faced some criticism for being too pragmatic and functional despite having a squad of superstars, but his team was set up superbly against an opponent that was largely restricted to only minor chances and denied on two occasions in particular by France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. As the match ticked into extra time, it was France that was asking the questions.

Giroud has not scored in eight games and is yet to even have a shot on target in Russian Federation.

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The American then cruised through the deciding set with a single break of serve enough to ensure her place in the semi-finals. After that, she turned it all around breaking for 3-1 and not stopping till she converted her third with a loud roar.

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Belgium desperately missed suspended right-back Thomas Meunier, who offers so much athleticism and width. I play against teams that play so defensively 90% of the time. He proved a distinct improvement on Marc Wilmots, who was out of his depth in successive quarter-final exits. "But I am in the final".

Martinez bemoaned the goal his team conceded from a corner.

France won the World Cup in 1998 and are now in their third final.

First, Lloris flew to his right to turn behind Toby Alderweireld's shot on the turn.

"Their striker plays 30 metres from his own goal", he added to Belgian TV station Sporza.

Giroud did at least have a part to play in the decisive opener as, after his shot was deflected wide, Griezmann's corner was flicked in at the near post by Umtiti.

60': Dries Mertens comes in for Mousa Dembele. Nor only that, but he has exhibited the self-belief to put his ideas into action on the pitch, something which had previously been lacking, particularly at major tournaments, where France had often flattered to deceive, despite reaching the knockout rounds.

This is not the first time Courtois has attracted controversy for his comments.

They were moments to drop the jaw and draw the breath, visions of the heights this French generation - now one win away from being crowned champion of the world - might yet scale, images of what this team of all the talents could, and perhaps should, be.

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