A solitary Samuel Umtiti goal was enough to dump top scoring Belgium out of the World Cup in the first semi final. French president, Emmanuel Macron was present as Les Blues laboured out a tough 1-0 win in what was the 74th meeting between the two European sides.
Blaise Matuidi was back in the starting line up for France after he missed the quarter final clash due to suspension as Moussa Dembele started only his second game for Belgium during this World Cup.
Both teams had brief spells of possession in a low-key first half; Lloris pulling off a neat save to deny club mate Toby Alderweid as Thibaut Courtois stuck a leg to deny Pavard.
Umtiti rose highest to head the ball from Griezzman’s corner kick early in the second half; the Barcelona defender scoring only his third international goal. The Belgium coach, Martinez reacted by sending on Mertens and Yannick Carassco in search of an equalizer but the French were able to hold out for the win; Griezzman and substitute Tolisso coming close to extend the margin late on. Belgium will be back in action on Saturday in contention for the third place as France prepare for their second major final appearance in two years.