France booked their spot in the UEFA Nations League final after coming back from two goals down to defeat Belgium on Thursday night.
UEFA Nations League
Result: Belgium 2-3 France
Date: 07 October 2021
Venue: Allianz Stadium
The Red Devils did not alter their usual 3-4-3 formation, with Kevin De Bruyne and Eden Hazard flanking Romelu Lukaku up top, while Les Bleus were without N'Golo Kante, with Antoine Griezmann shadowing Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe upfront.
Belgium came close to going ahead as early as the third minute after De Bruyne latched onto a flick by Lukaku inside the box and unleashed a low drive that produced a good reflex save from goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
The game was opening up, from end end and Benjamin Pavard had a wonderful chance to get the opener for Didier Deschamps' charges five minutes later with a volley unmarked at the back post that was smothered by shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois.
Robero Martinez's troops were playing on counter-attacks after that and Yannick Carrasco eventually broke the deadlock for the hosts eight minutes before the half-time break with a low drive past Lloris after a through ball by De Bruyne.
Lukaku quickly doubled Belgium's lead three minutes later with a cracking first-time strike at the near post after another well weighted through ball by De Bruyne, as the Red Devils went to the half-time interval with a two-goal cushion.
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Griezmann had a big chance to pull a goal back for Les Bleus just before the hour-mark after a cross by Mbappe was there to be smashed home but he stumbled at a crucial moment and missed the target.
Benzema eventually got a goal back for Deschamps' troops just after the hour-mark with a moment of of individual brilliance, as received a pass from Mbappe with his back towards goal, created space for himself and fired a strike into the far corner.
Mbappe brought France level five minutes later with a smashing penalty into the top corner after the referee consulted the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) monitor in awarding them the spot-kick for Youri Tielemans' foul on Griezmann.
Courtois kept the Red Devils in the game in the last 13 minutes after making a double save to repel strikes from Griezmann and Paul Pogba from the edge of the box.
Lukaku thought he had snatched the winner for the Red Devils in the last three minutes after tapping home Carrasco's cross but the goal was disallowed for offside.
Just moments after Pogba came very close for Les Bleus with a free-kick that came off the bar, Theo Hernandez finally got the winner for France a minute later after a powerful strike past Courtois to set up a final date with Spain on Sunday
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