In 1998, in the French-speaking World Cup, it was the defender Thuram , with a historic and unrepeatable double, who sent France to the final by overcoming a grim Croatia 2-1. The first final in Bleus history , the one then brought home (actually a short distance from Saint-Denis to the headquarters of the French Federation) crashing Brazil 3-0. At the time Didier Deschamps I thank Thuram , as a teammate, and I also thank Blanc, suspended, for having been able to listen to the Marseillaise and play the game of a lifetime with the captain’s armband on his arm.
Twenty years later, exactly two laps of the decade and a final, the second, lost on penalties against Italy in 2006, there is still Deschamps, this time as technical commissioner, but thanks in the semifinals also go to this round to a defender, Umtiti, who by name makes Samuel, like the prophet. “His name is God”, in Hebrew .

La fiiiinnnnnaaalllllleeeee !!!!!! #FRA #FiersdetreBleus
– Equipe de France (@equipedefrance) July 10, 2018

France beat Belgium 1-0 in the first semifinalscheduled and thus accesses the final in Moscow on 15 July. At 51 ‘, with his peremptory detachment, on the developments of the corner, he dominates Fellaini and is a message of strength, anger, compactness and completeness. Giroud, the transalpine reference striker, can afford to score only one goal between this Russian World Cup and the previous Brazilian, because France is all this. Above all, she is aware that she has never been so brilliant this month, except for a few moments during the match against Argentina.
With Mbappe harnessed, who dusts heel strokes and touches of genius mixed with the dramas of the PSG teammate, Neymar, and Griezmann not very much on the ball, it was the Barcelona defender of Cameroonian origin who unlocked the game .Just him in a cosmopolitan and multi-ethnic derby , with 23 players, between France and Belgium, children of Africa. He who never had doubts about which national jersey he wanted to wear, so convinced that he could be important for France that he didn’t even waver in front of the legendary Roger Milla who tried to convince him to choose the country of his parents.

It is Thierry Henry’s derby of heart and blood, Martinez’s assistant coach, attentive and motivator, who does not break up during the anthems, but inside explodes with pride to challenge his compatriots. And with the same pride and respect at the end of the triple whistle, he greets the new probable French heroes, as he had done with his other opponents while his Belgium passed rounds, eighths and quarter-finals.
The flamboyant Belgium kept the Bleus in check all the time with an unprecedented 3-2-4-1 and Dembele on the pitch in place of the announced Carrasco to balance the team and force France to stay holed up. But the dream of Belgium lasted for a long time, with Hazard inspired, De Bruyne very practical and Lukaku not very lucid. Then Courtois kept the game open in the second half, while substitute Mertens was unable to break the pace. Belgium comes out in the semifinals as in 1986, when they fold to Maradona’s Argentina.
While France, at the crossroads, undertakes the curve for the final, the boys of the magician Martinez still have one last game, the final of the third and fourth place. It will only be useful for statistics for many, but this Belgium cannot go home empty-handed. Small consolation.
Francia (4-2-3-1): Lloris, Hernandez, Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Mbappe, Pogba, Griezmann, Kante, Matuidi (41′ st Tolisso), Giroud (40′ st N’Zonzi). (23 Areola, 19 Sidibe, 17 Rami, 3 Kimpembe, 22 Mendy, 8 Lemar, 20 Thauvin, 11 Dembele, 18 Fekir, 16 Mandanda). German: Deschamps.
Belgio (3-1-4-2): Courtois, Alderweireld, Chadli (46′ st Batshuayi), Vertonghen, Kompany, Witsel, Dembele (15′ st Mertens), Fellaini (35′ st Carrasco), E. Hazard, De Bruyne, Lukaku. (20 Boyata, 3 Vermaelen, 18 Januzaj, 17 Tielemans, 16 T. Hazard, 23 Dendoncker, 12 Mignolet, 13 Casteels). Germany: Martinez.
Referee: Cunha (Uruguay).
Reti: 6′ st Umtiti.
Ammoniti: E. Hazard, Alderweireld, Kante, Mbappe and Vertonghen Angoli
: 5-3 per il Belgio. Recovery: 1′ and 6′. Var: 0.

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