In the end France got there with a lot to spare. At the end of a 1-0 win over Belgium in St. Petersburg France have the chance to be world champions for only the second time in their history. The betting odds for France are looking good too, with them currently being at 4/6 to win. There’s a great deal of markets on at the moment and if you’re going to be putting your money on France, you may want to check out Top Football Tipster’s tips first to help you make a profit. You should also look at a few different betting sites to see who has the best offers on. But how are France looking after Tuesday’s semi final?
The scoreline may have indicated a tight and tense affair but in the end Didier Deschamps’ side held their opponents at a reasonable distance, Belgium failing to create anything of note as the minutes ticked away. This was as efficient and professional as a World Cup semifinal gets. Yet it seems odd that a team of such attacking talent is described in such terms.
France’s attacking lineup is as good as it gets at this World Cup: Kylian Mbappé, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Paul Pogba and so much more. But they’re only ever seen in bits and pieces, flashes of inspired showing. It was Mbappé speeding past Jan Vertonghen in the first ten seconds like he didn’t exist; Pogba’s feint of body in the centre circle to leave Mousa Dembele in his wake and send Mbappé on his way with a through ball. Save for the seesaw game against Argentina in the Round of 16, which feels like ages ago, France aren’t in the final because of those moments of brilliance but for what they do best when the pressure is on.
France defend expertly well as a unit, marshalled by the relatively young but experienced duo of Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane and Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti, who scored the winner here. When Thibaut Courtois complained of France being ‘anti-foootball’ in the aftermath of this game, perhaps he thought he had a point but instead he was spectacularly missing it. Deschamps, roundly criticised by many, isn’t interested in winning neutral hearts and plaudits, he simply wants to fashion a team that can win. The football may not be aesthetically pleasing to the purists but whatever argument or grouse pales in significance when set a cogent fact: France are in the final and are one win away from being champions.
Watching this France team can be a testing experience, a 90-minute show of complaining why a team that could potentially give more is playing within itself. Yet France have won all three knockout games with relative ease, all within 90 minutes, and they give the impression they play in the third or fourth gear. If you reach the final game of the world’s greatest sporting showpiece without necessarily being your best, the indictment is on the rest of the competition for failing to ask uncomfortable questions. France as a team have done their bit to win the World Cup, and should they be crowned on Sunday, they will be worthy winners regardless of questions over style or aesthetics.