'I prefer losing with this Belgium than winning with that France'

N'Golo Kante France World Cup 2018

In scenes reminiscent of France's 1998 World Cup win, delirious crowds surged up the Champs-Elysees avenue and surrounded the Arc de Triomphe, waving flags and letting off flares.

Centre-back Umtiti scored the only goal in Tuesday's semi-final to condemn Belgium's "golden generation" to the third-place playoff in Russian Federation.

"They played on the counter-attack with (Kylian) Mbappe, who is very quick".

Mbappe then took centre-stage in a thrilling 4-3 win on the only occasion the French defence have looked vulnerable in Russian Federation. A lack of panic when they were 2-1 down against Argentina in the last-16 before coming back to win a thriller 4-3, and patience in breaking down stubborn Uruguay in the quarter-finals.

And Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku could not break through in Saint Petersburg as France registered a fourth clean sheet in six World Cup games to reach the final. "I think Raheem Sterling is an important player because he is fast and unsafe alongside Harry Kane", Dalic said.

"We have to give a lot of credit to the way France defended, even having certain attacking players defending very deep and giving us a lot of respect in that way", said opposing coach Roberto Martinez. "We want to finish this tournament in the best possible way", said captain Hugo Lloris after another series of heroic saves on Tuesday. Deschamps' cautious approach does not win admirers from all quarters.

Thibaut Courtois rushed from his goal just in time to save Vertonghen again from Mbappe´s pace on 12 minutes, but it was Belgium who started the better in possession. "Finals have to be won because we have still not got over the one we lost two years ago", said Deschamps.

"Two years ago, it was really painful, but in sport you have the chance to share success with the French people".

"Rivals at club level, he and Barcelona's Umtiti have formed a strong partnership with a combination of aerial power and speed across the ground". But the most important thing is that all the players are involved to help the team.

Lloris, who has shown himself in Russian Federation to be in the very top echelon of goalkeepers, said that Raphael Varane's performance in central defense will be vital in holding the Belgians at bay.

Umtiti was drafted in for his worldwide debut to cover for Varane two years ago, and is determined not to suffer another disappointment in a final.

"I am perfectly ready and fit and I can say the same for my teammates".

The 49-year-old coach is now just one win away from winning the World Cup - 20 years after he captained the team to victory on home soil. "I really hope to do it in the final".

"We have prepared well, I can brag a little about that", laughed Deschamps after securing a place in Sunday's final in Moscow against either Croatia or England.

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