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

France releases World Cup squad

After all the drama of Kazan, France produced a composed display to become the first side to book their place in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals.

The win means France have another shot at a title, two years after losing the final of the 2016 European Championships 1-0 to Portugal, in a tournament which was played on home soil.

A defense that defanged the World Cup's most prolific scoring team, Belgium, in a semifinal so engrossing that 90 minutes seemed to zip past in half that time. "As a captain, I am happy to be part of this team".

The Chelsea forward's next effort was arrowing into the top corner until it flicked off Raphael Varane's head and deflected just over. "And then the players do their best, try to respect what the manager said and we have the talent, we have the belief, the spirit to turn the game the way we want".

Didier Deschamps' France secured their place in another major final with a narrow victory over Belgium on Tuesday night.

Should France go on to win the World Cup on Sunday, they would have peaked perfectly after starting the tournament in Russian Federation slowly but gaining momentum when it mattered most.

Courtois, speaking in defeat, tried to pay tribute to the style of the French but accepted the more attractive style of play was not rewarded with the win.

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France's Samuel Umtiti scores their first goal past Belgium's Thibaut Courtois.

Chelsea attacker Eden Hazard has thrown a jibe at France following Belgium's ouster at the semifinal stage of this year's FIFA World Cup in Russian Federation.

France's greatest success in the match was the way they marshalled Kevin De Bruyne.

"It's a really sad dressing room now, because the opportunity of being in the final was the only focus we had", added Martinez.

Aside from being the match victor, Umtiti had a tight partnership with Raphael Varane in central defence. The inclusion of the Tottenham midfielder gave Belgium's midfield more brawn, allowing the Red Devils to dominate the middle of the park in the first 45 minutes, setting Hazard and De Bruyne free to bamboozle France's defence - but the duo could not break it.

It is the first time since 1998 that the nation of just over four million people have reached this stage of the competition, after they eliminated Russian Federation in a penalty shootout at the weekend.

At 19, Mbappe wasn't even born when France won the World Cup for the first and only time with a squad that is just as diverse as the one Deschamps is leading 20 years later.

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