Many will attribute France's win to tactical brilliance from French boss Didier Deschamps, that he outwitted Belgium's Roberto Martinez. The statement was released early on Wednesday. More important than that, however, is how Deschamps has convinced these two to not only sublimate their own impressive talents for the good of the side, but he has convinced that the one role in the side free of much defensive responsibility go to the squad's youngest member, Mbappé.
England and Belgium to win
Their ability to maintain possession and composure, even as a youthful team, is what has led them to this semi-final match. In a post, Poplar Police thanked the public for helping find one of the culprits, adding: "Now it's our turn".
France, the 1998 champions, will face either England or Croatia in Sunday's final at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.
Belgium made only its second semifinal appearance in the competition, and the first after 32 years, but lost to neighbours France in a close game that was decided by a Samuel Umtiti goal. Belgium had the midfielders to trouble France but their centre-forward Romelu Lukaku was found wanting with only 22 touches on the ball, the fewest for a player who started the match. "France are used to these big games but we coped with that side really well".
Martinez added: "The difference between defeat and winning was down to one dead-ball situation".
Personnel changes could see Belgian stalemate
When a manager makes significant changes to a team there is often a tendency for the play to become disjointed as players adjust.
Lukaku was presented with his first real opportunity three minutes of the restart, but headed harmlessly over from Axel Witsel's inviting cross, but when the opening goal arrived, it did so at the other end.
Asked whether he was annoyed by France's style, De Bruyne replied (via Sport Witness): "No, I play at City". Certainly not for Vincent Kompany, who was musing previous year about worldwide retirement after the World Cup, and probably not for others in the older half of the team.
Deschamps also said he was not anxious about possible tactical changes being made by Belgium's coach, adding "We are going to adapt to any situation - the players are ready". De Bruyne, one of the English Premier League's standout players last season, Hazard, Lukaku and Courtois are all world class players in their mid-20s. We saw the competitiveness in both teams' game, determination, and maturity. "The idea was not to give them space because they've rolled over everyone (in reaching the semi-finals), even Brazil". In truth, it was thanks to the dexterity of both goalkeepers that the score remained goalless at the break.
Confident Japan, Senegal in crunch tie
Poland got on the board in the 86th minute, but did not have enough time left to even the scoreboard. "We didn't lose today". The team will now go on to play without Sanchez, with either Wilmar Barrios or Mateus Uribe likely to take his place.
"We've got just one wish now: to win a sixth match in Russian Federation so we can go away on holiday even more at peace with ourselves".
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