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England could play France after Les Bleus beat Belgium

14 July 2018
England could play France after Les Bleus beat Belgium

"We did not win the final at the Euros - that's why it's important for me to reach the World Cup final".

It was Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti, that scored the victor in the 51st minute, beating Marouane Fellaini at the near post to head home Antoine Griezmann's corner.

Belgium also made 542 passes to France's 289 and other players in the Belgium squad have not been as diplomatic as De Bruyne following their defeat.

"Damn set piece, that's all I can say", Kompany said. We can be very happy and lucky that we can have the team what we have.

"I play against teams that play so defensively 90% of the time".

France started the tournament in Russian Federation slowly, struggling for goals in the group stages but hit their stride in an impressive 4-3 victory against Lionel Messi's Argentina in the first knockout round.

Varane headed the opener in a 2-0 quarter-final win against Uruguay as Luis Suarez was shut out.

Yet another all Premier League battle, a result of the majority of Belgium's likely starting XI plying their trade in England.

That included the Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, Blaise Matuidi, and Paul Pogba, who sacrificed themselves in the defense side to hold Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne at bay.

"The attitude of the players was brilliant and we couldn't ask for anymore". "If you are going to have to lose such a match, which is bearable, it is the manner in which our players lost, pushing for everything, trying everything until the final whistle".

Belgium had gone unbeaten since September 2016 and had won every game at the 2018 World Cup including Brazil in the quarter-finals.

"It allows the country to be more ambitious and believe in its own talent", he said. Captain Harry Kane is the man leading England's charge in Russian Federation with six goals so far, putting him top in the race for the Golden Boot.

England are in the last four of a major tournament for the first time since Euro '96, when Southgate himself missed a penalty in a shootout defeat against Germany. Marouane Fellaini's brace and a strike from Radja Nainggolan earned Belgium a 3-0 lead before Mathieu Valbuena pulled back one.

"We have seen a fantastic Belgian team and have been eliminated by a team that was more solid than us", he stated. "So maybe for the future we've still done something good for Belgian football". "When there was an opportunity to be seized, they took it".

But Croatia have fought their way through two penalty shoot-outs to reach this stage of the competition.

There are concerns that fatigue could be a factor for Zlatko Dalic's side, given they were forced to come through 120 minutes and penalties against both Denmark and the hosts in the last two rounds. "People have been celebrating and you shouldn't forget that - that's what this tournament is about as well".