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France beat Belgium to reach World Cup final

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Saint Petersburg: France reached the World Cup final on Tuesday after a second-half header from Samuel Umtiti gave team a 1-0 win over Belgium.

France Defender Samuel Umtiti scored the winning goal with a powerful header past goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in the 51st minute.

It means the 1998 World Cup winners will play either England or Croatia in the final on Sunday. The second semi-final takes place at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesday.

France will be the favourites to win the title after a strong performance against a star-studded Belgium side featuring the likes of Eden Hazard, Kevin de Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku.

Umtiti rose brilliantly to shrug off Marouane Fellaini and head in Antoine Griezmann’s corner for his first goal of the tournament.

Samuel Umtiti fires France into the lead against Belgium.

Striker Olivier Giroud won the corner after turning Belgian defender Vincent Kompany, forcing him to put his goal-bound shot out of play.

France’s football-loving President Emmanuel Macron and Belgian King Philippe were watching from the stands, along with Rolling Stones front-man Sir Mick Jagger.

Paris celebrates France’s march to the World Cup final

Paris, Jul 11 (AFP) The French national anthem La Marseillaise, chants of “We’re in the final” and a cacophony of car horns and fire crackers rang out over Paris on Tuesday as residents in the capital celebrated France’s march to the World Cup final.

A crowd of 20,000 gathered to watch Dider Deschamps’ team beat Belgium 1-0 in their semi-final in Saint Petersburg on a giant screen at Paris’ historic Hotel de Ville, or town hall.

With viewing space at a premium every vantage spot was occupied — with fans perched on trees, on top of vans, on dustbins and bus shelters.

Samuel Umtiti’s decisive goal in the 52nd minute triggered the waving of a sea of tricolors, ecstatic fans many in the national team’s colours kissed and hugged and danced.

The Rue de Rivoli, normally choc-a-bloc with traffic, became a temporary pedestrian zone as crowds made their way along it past the Louvre to the Champs-Elysees, where 20 years earlier Paris had gathered to celebrate France’s World Cup win on home soil.

Kashmir Images
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