5 Wins and a Draw: France’s Road to the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final
As France advances to the decisive stage of the world cup, here’s a recap of Les Bleus’ road to the finals.
After edging out Belgium in the semi finals on Tuesday, this will be the third time France will make it to the finals and likely bring the cup home.
It was in 1998 that the French team had won their first world cup after beating Brazil 3-0 in the final. However in 2006, they finished as runners up losing 5-3 on penalties to Italy.
Here’s a look at France’s journey so far this world cup:
Group Stage: France beat Australia 2-1
France won 2-1 against Australia in their opening Group C match. Les Bleus struggled to break down Australia’s defense in the first half but got lucky when the effect of VAR and goal line technology came in to play.
Even though the match technically favoured the French side, there was still some improvement required to help the team keep pace in the world cup.
Group Stage: France beat Peru 1-0
Peru gave a tough competition to France, mainly in the second half but an early bloomer from Kylian Mbappe in the 34th minute was enough to send France into the round of 16 with a 1-0 win. The French striker became the youngest ever goal scorer at a major tournament beating David Trezeguet’s previous record.
France’s performance has been on the edge but this slice of luck has helped them advance to the next stage.
Group Stage: France drew Denmark 0-0
A goalless draw helped France and Denmark qualify to the round of 16. Defenses on both sides were on toes in the first and second half. France failed to convert a goal from their side. Even Anotine Griezman’s curler was collected easily by Kasper Schmeichel.
Although their earnest efforts to create chances against Denmark failed, Les Bleus have gone unbeaten in the group stages for the first time in a consecutive world cup tournament.
Round of 16 : France beat Argentina 4-3
France came out strong and defeated the South Americans in a 4-3 spectacular game to book a place in the quarter finals. Kylian Mbappe closed the deal for the Argentines after his two phenomenal goals, which awarded him ‘Man of the Match’.
Despite the two Argentinian goals, it was the perfect game for the French side to match their achievements from four years ago.
Quarter-Final: France beat Uruguay 2-0
After France’s staggering performance against Argentina, France finally gained spirit in their game play and was ready for another challenge. Raphael Varane’s glancing header and the goalkeeper’s blunder gifted Anotine Griezman a soft goal, handing France a 2-0 win against Uruguay.
Uruguay’s impact was noticeable but without Cavani, who scored twice in the round of 16 win against Portugal, Uruguay failed to bolster their attack. This is the sixth time France has qualified for the semi finals.
Semi-Final: France beat Belgium 1-0
Samuel Umtiti’s 51st minute header was the decisive winner for the 1998 champions in the second half to book them a spot in the finals for the second time in 12 years.
The Belgians pulled off a great start in the first half with De Bruyne and Hazard forging in to bolster their attack, but the Frenchmen turned the tables in the second half, having assessed Belgium’s strategy. France emerged victorious and reached their third finals to face Croatia.
(For complete FIFA World Cup 2018 coverage, click here to visit our special WC page.)
France have faced Croatia five times previously in 1998, 1999 and 2000. Les Bleus defeated Croatia last in the 1998 world cup with a 2-0 victory. They have also met at Euro 2004 where the result brought a goalless 2-2 draw in the group stage.
The 1998 Champions will now take on Croatia on 15th July at Luzhniki Stadium.
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