Tolisso reaches World Cup final with France

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Corentin Tolisso and the French national team are in the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia after beating Belgium 1-0 on Tuesday night. The Équipe Tricolore will meet the winners of the second semi-final between England and Croatia in world football’s biggest match. Samuel Umtiti scored the winning goal for the 1998 winners in the 51st minute, with Bayern midfielder Corentin Tolisso entering the fray in the 86th.

After a brief settling-in phase, Belgium had a number of chances to take the lead within the space of a few minutes. Eden Hazard’s shot in the 16th minute fizzed just wide of the goal, and three minutes later Raphael Varane deflected the Belgian captain’s effort over the bar. Toby Alderweireld followed that up soon after with a turn and shot that Hugo Lloris was equal to. The best chance for Les Bleus fell to Benjamin Pavard in the 39th minute, but Thibaut Courtois saved well with his feet and the first half ended goalless.

It was a set-piece that put Didier Deschamps’ men on the path to the final. Centre-back Umtiti met Antoine Griezmann’s corner at the near post and made it 1-0. Having taken the lead, the French sat back but despite their possession, Belgium struggled to create the sort of chances they had in the first half. Axel Witsel tested Lloris with a fierce long-range shot in the 81st minute, but it wasn’t enough. Deschamps brought on Tolisso in the 86th minute to help see out the game and he even had a chance to wrap up the win, but his shot deep into injury time was saved by Courtois. It mattered not as France reached the final of the competition for the third time.