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France's captain hits back at Belgian jibes

14 July, 2018, 03:45 | Author: Tommie Newton
  • Hazard to go up against adopted France of his hero Zidane

"We faced a really good Belgium team, but we hurt them and we could have hurt them more if we had been more precise, but we were prepared for anything and we showed once again everything that is positive", commented Deschamps. "It will be freakish to have him up against us", said France striker Olivier Giroud.

France beat Belgium 1-0 to secure a place in this Sunday's World Cup final where they will meet Croatia.

"We have seen a fantastic Belgian team and have been eliminated by a team that was more solid than us", he stated.

Didier Deschamps, the France coach, set up his team to play on the counter-attack but Courtois claimed there was only one side trying to win and suggested it was fitting their goal came from a set-piece with Samuel Umtiti heading home Antoine Griezmann's corner.

"Both teams have had opportunities, that one goal makes the difference".

Near the end of the game French midfielder Blaise Matuidi had to go off due to injury.

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

But England can not afford to dwell on the French just yet, with Croatia likely to be a tough battle on Moscow on Wednesday night. "We will have to play collectively, we will have to be a disciplined team to close all the spaces because they are very risky". "(With) social media and everything else, the global thing is so much bigger". They could stick around for the next European Championship in two years, but the 2022 World Cup in Qatar may be a bridge too far. Almost 20 million viewers tuned in for the win over Sweden and social media is awash with videos of excited fans watching on big screens in bars and parks, fanatically celebrating every England goal. Despite Kane's impressive tally, Croatia coach Zlatko Dalic has identified Raheem Sterling as England's danger man in their semi-final.

"Cante is an essential part (of the defense), through his activity, the number of balls he gets back, but also his positioning.You don't want to just steal the ball from the feet of the opponent, he also has a lot of trajectories on passing in attack, so yes, he will have an important role to play tomorrow in the same way he has for every match", said the 49-year-old.

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. Even so, they were hoping for more this time around. Courtois told Belgian RTBF broadcaster that it was frustrating to lose to "a team that is not better than us".

"The attitude of the players was brilliant and we couldn't ask for anymore".

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