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A Look at How France Clinched Its Third World Cup Final Appearance

Sunday's match against Croatia will represent France's third World Cup Final appearance. Here's how they were able to accomplish the feat.
Third World Cup Final Appearance

France sees this latest World Cup run, 20 years after its lone triumph in the tournament, as a déja vu.

As soon as the whistle blew to end their win over Belgium, Les Bleus started to cry, and what they just accomplished deserves all the tears they shed.

Analyzing How France Clinched Its Third World Cup Final Appearance

France reached the World Cup final for the first time since 2006 and they advanced to their second major final in a row after making the Euro finals in 2016.

Now they are focused on emulating what the generation of Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry, and Didier Deschamps did 20 years ago.

Moreover, Kylian Mbappé put on a show for the world to see. He dribbled at Belgian defenders all day on Tuesday and his speediness was a constant headache for the opposition.

Display to Applaud

France’s semifinal performance finish was a 1-0 win over Belgium, and the result shows the sacrifice for itself.

Les Bleus left their heart out on the pitch to keep their goal unbeaten as most of their footballers played a specific defensive job in the game.

That included the Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, Blaise Matuidi, and Paul Pogba, who sacrificed themselves in the defense side to hold Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne at bay.

Matuidi took the worst part of it as he was fouled all game, especially in the second half, but the sacrifice he displayed was appreciated by his teammates.

Pogba and N’Golo Kanté was the perfect pairing in the midfield. They put in a superhuman effort to contain Belgium’s offensive weapons.

Pogba played an incredible game as a defensive midfielder and his help was fundamental to keep his country in the run for the title.

However, one of the best players so far was goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. The Tottenham man had two remarkable saves that did not allow Belgium to find the net.

Lloris has proven he is one of the best goalkeepers on the planet with important saves all tournament long.

One Game Away

France’s objective is one game shy of becoming a reality.

It will be their third final in a World Cup after defeating Brazil 3-0 in 1998 and losing in 2006 against Italy in Zidane’s last game as a professional player.

In preparing for this match, Les Bleus are well-aware that all the frustration of coming up short in their last two major tournament finals can be washed away on Sunday.

The Path

France went through a challenging road to the final, starting with a 2-1 problematic win against Australia in Group C’s opener. But the doubts that surrounded them in the first match were quickly forgotten after they topped the group with a 1-0 triumph over Peru and a 0-0 draw to Denmark.

In the Round of 16, they sent Argentina crashing out with a 4-3 victory following a convincing 2-0 win against Uruguay to face off against Belgium in the semis.

The Red Devils made France feel pressure in the first 25 minutes but in the second half, the French took the game over.

Belgium Heads Up

Maybe it is not the way Belgium wanted to finish the tournament, but they have to be proud.

For the first time since 1986, they played in a World Cup semifinal. Even so, they were hoping for more this time around.

Hazard and De Bruyne showed they are world-class players. In the first half, they had their best opportunities to score but Lloris came up huge in keeping them off the scoresheet.

Belgium has enough talent to keep dreaming of their first trophy. Nevertheless, in 2018, their tournament ended two wins short of that ultimate prize.

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