What A Game!
What a game this was. France went head to head with the number 1 team in the world, Belgium and despite a horrifying first-half showing, they got themselves back into the game to come back from being 2-0 down to win the game by 3-2. It was indeed a classic encounter and totally enjoyable - for the neutrals of course and France fans all over.
This was a game that lived up to its billing being the semi-final of the UEFA Nations League. Spain managed to win Italy by 2-1 on Wednesday and now they will be joined by France for the final showdown. Who are you rooting for to win this? The confidence would be high for France with how they came from the jaw of defeat against Belgium to win this.
Belgium looked poised to win this game due to how effective they were with their attack and possession. Belgium didn't have anything to show for their early dominance until they scored two goals in quick succession. This might have made them ease up a bit which allowed France back into the game. Carrasco and Lukaku gave Belgium the 2-0 lead earlier before Benzema, Mbappe and Theo Hernandez turned the game on its head to leave Belgium shell shocked as to how they allowed the game to slip away from them.
Belgium got the chance to get ahead in the 3rd minute when a loose ball fell to De Bruyne inside the box and his attempt was superbly blocked by Hugo Lloris' outstretched hand. It was a timely intervention from the French stopper. Mbappe had a chance on the other end too and despite taking the ball beyond the reach of the goalkeeper, he was unable to finish the job.
Anyone would know what's to expect from such a high profile match as this with so many last ditched saves flying around with Benzema, Mbappe, Hazard and De Bruyne denied on few occasions.
The first goal of the game came in the 37th minute when Carrasco was fed on the side of the post. He had it all to do and brilliantly cut inside before unleashing a shot to find the narrow-angle of the bottom left corner which left Hugo Lloris rooted to the same spot after taking just a slight deflection off the defender.
Belgium made it 2-0 when De Bruyne found Lukaku with a lovely pass. Lukaku's body movement displaced his marker and in what looked like a tight angle for Lukaku, he managed to blast the ball into the roof of the net. That was an effort that would take a genius of a striker to pull off and oh boy, Lukaku did. No one could explain how he managed to pull that off.
Hazard was hoping to extend the lead shortly before halftime after he powered a low drive strike just outside the box but Hugo Lloris was up to it to deny him comfortably.
France started the second half with renewed vigour with Pogba having a chance inside the box from a header but he couldn't manage to keep it down. Griezmann had another chance for France to bundle home the pass from Mbappe inside the box but he missed by just a margin.
France dragged themselves back into contention after Mbappe found Benzema just inside the box. Despite so many legs and players around him, Benzema twisted and turned to power home a shot that eluded all the legs hoping for a block. Courtois could do nothing to prevent the ball from going in and France halved the deficit.
In the 69th minute, with the help of a VAR review, the referee gave France a penalty after Tielemans got a touch on Griezmann inside the 18-yard box. Mbappe stepped up to take it and smashed home the effort to draw the game level.
Belgium sensed trouble looming and in the 73rd minute, the expertise of Lloris came to the surface as he managed to get a hand over De Bruyne's power drive shot to force a corner kick. Both teams had wonderful chances to go ahead but for the brilliance of the goalkeepers, the score stayed level.
Belgium thought they had gotten the lead with few minutes left on the clock after Carrasco's brilliant ball was bundled home by Lukaku but the offside call was later raised against Carrasco, much to the disappointment of the Belgians.
In the 90th minute, Pogba had a lovely freekick at the edge of the box clip the top right hand of the crossbar. What a goal that would have been and no one would have denied it was worthy of a winning strike. Shortly after, Theo Hernandez got his first France goal in the 90th minute after powering home his shot just at the right time which left heartbreak for the Belgians.
France sealed the win with a phenomenal comeback to win the game 3-2 and set the stage for the Final against Spain.
Thank you for your time.
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