France is back in the World Cup final for the first time since 2006. Twelve years after one of soccer’s most infamous moments, Samuel Umtiti used his head to score from a corner kick in the 51st minute and earn France a 1-0 victory over Belgium on Tuesday in the first of the all-European semifinals.
Belgium won the possession game, but France’s defense showed incredible discipline, holding the Belgians to only three shots on target. On the other side, Belgium committed 16 fouls, three of which resulted in yellow cards in a very scrappy battle.
The French players danced on the field after the final whistle and shook the hand of Thierry Henry, who helped Les Bleus win the World Cup in 1998 and is now Belgium’s assistant coach.
France will face either Croatia or England in the final on Sunday in Moscow. Those two teams play in the other semifinal match on Wednesday, also in Moscow.
France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris produced a great save in each half, denying the potent Belgian attack of Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku the chance to advance the country to its first major final. Belgium reached the quarterfinals at the 2014 World Cup and the European Championship in 2016 but has yet to fulfil its lofty expectations.