Three years after winning the World Cup, France can hope for the next title: The Equipe tricolore beat Belgium 3-2 and reached the final of the Nations League. The team shows heart and catches up a two-goal deficit.
With a world champion energy performance, France averted the next big disappointment and reached the final of the Nations League. Despite a 2-0 deficit, the Equipe tricolore managed to beat Belgium 3-2 and can therefore hope for the next title three years after the World Cup triumph. France will now face Spain in the final on Sunday (8:45 p.m. / ARD and DAZN) in Milan, who defeated European champions Italy 2-1 on Wednesday.
Karim Benzema (62nd minute), Kylian Mbappé with a penalty kick (69th) and Theo Hernandez (90th) scored the goals for the French who had failed at the end of June at the European Championship on penalties in Switzerland. Belgium had taken the lead through Yannick Carrasco (37th) and star striker Romelu Lukaku (41st), but missed revenge for the defeat in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals after the weak second half. This means that the Red Devils have to continue their first international title wait since the Olympic victory in 1920.
At first, Belgians dominate
The French had called their dream storm with Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann. Finally, reparations for the EM were announced. But first it was the Belgian team that showed the troubled world champion the limits. Driven by superstar De Bruyne, the Belgians presented the more mature play system and were also significantly more dangerous in front of the goal.
“I want to win a tournament,” announced Lukaku. And the striker went straight ahead when he forced France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to make a brilliant save (4th). Then Mbappé also provided accents on the opposite side.
The leadership of the Red Devils was initiated by De Bruyne with his pass to Carrasco. Atletico Madrid’s man duped Bayern defender Benjamin Pavard with a hook and shot from twelve meters. France was shocked and received the next low blow. Again it was De Bruyne who played for Lukaku this time. The massive striker passed Lucas Hernandez, the other Munich defender in the French team, with a body deception and scored from an acute angle to make it 2-0.
Mbappé shows no nerve
Maybe the decision already? Not at all. The world champion showed a reaction after the break, gained weight and had scoring opportunities. If Griezmann failed from short position (58th), Benzema did better: After a pass from Mbappé, the Real Madrid striker was not impressed by three or four opponents.
France pushed further. After Youri Tielemans fouled Griezmann, referee Daniel Siebert initially refused the penalty but reversed his decision after contacting the VAR. This time Mbappé, who had missed against Switzerland, showed no nerves and scored to equalize. Then the events rolled over: Lukaku’s goal was not given due to offside position. On the other side, Paul Pogba hit the crossbar with a free kick, before Hernandez let the French cheer with a powerful shot.