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France player ratings as Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti is the match-winner and earns an 8

Here, Matt Jones rates the France players following their 1-0 win over Belgium in the World Cup semi-final

Matt Jones 2018/07/10

France are into the 2018 World Cup final after a commanding 1-0 win over Belgium.

The decisive moment came early in the second half when Samuel Umtiti rose immaculately to nod in Antoine Griezmann’s in swinging corner.

It seemed to take the sting out of Belgium, who began brilliantly but were unable to capitalise on their early dominance. After the goal France managed to keep them at arm’s length as they held on comfortably.

Here we rate the France players:

FRANCE (4-2-3-1)

Hugo Lloris – 7:

Stunning save to deny Alderweireld calmed him down after a shaky start. Kept Belgium at bay but handling was unnerving.

Benjamin Pavard – 4:

Roasted regularly by a rampant Hazard as he looked out of his depth. Brought a fine stop out of Courtois.

Raphael Varane – 7:

Vital touch to deflect Hazard’s blistering drive over. Dealt well with Belgium’s aerial bombardment.

Samuel Umtiti – 8:

Had been quiet until meeting Griezmann’s corner with a bullet header. Alongside Varane, kept Lukaku shackled.                   

Lucas Hernandez – 6:

A constant outlet down France’s left. A quiet and confident display belied his 22 years.

N’Golo Kante – 7:

A few poor touches, but boundless energy fueled France, especially as they struggled to get to grips with Belgium early on.

Paul Pogba – 7:

Precision through ball early on almost sent Mbappe clear. Otherwise his defensive traits came to the fore. Four tackles was second only to Matuidi.   

Kylian Mbappe – 8:

Scintillating skill and blistering pace was a massive problem all night. Back-heel to Giroud was otherworldly. Six key passes.

Antoine Griezmann – 8:

Struggled initially to exert his influence, but typified France’s eventual emergence as he pulled the strings for Les Bleus.

Blaise Matuidi – 7:

Found himself in a more alien forward role. Venemous early rocket stung Courtois’ palms. Energy and engine was excellent.

Olivier Giroud – 5:

Didn’t appear on the same wavelength as his fellow attackers. Heavily involved but couldn’t quite get his brain and feet in sync.

SUBS:

Steven N’Zonzi N/A

Came on to replace the tireless Matuidi and shore up France’s advantage.

Corentin Tolisso N/A

Brought on late to stretch Belgium. Denied a clinching goal by Courtois’s plunging left hand.

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