France book spot in Football World Cup final with clinical win against Belgium

Welcome to 1 NEWS NOW's live coverage of the 2018 Football World Cup from Russia.

8:05am

That'll be all for our World Cup coverage today. We'll be back tomorrow for the second semi-final, with England and Croatia meeting to decide who'll face France in Moscow for the Jules Rimmet trophy on Monday.

7:58am

What a performance from France, but spare a thought for Belgium - the tournament's top scorers couldn't find the back of the net today, and will now play off for third place against the loser of tomorrow's second semi-final, between England and Croatia.

7:54am: FULLTIME - France 1 Belgium 0

Chance for France! Belgium caught out with everyone forward. Tolisso has a chance but Courtois makes a brilliant save low to his left. Corner for France as Mbappe and Pogba look to hold it in the corner.

That'll be it though! France are the first side to book their place at the 2018 Football World Cup final!

7:52am: 90+4 mins - France 1 Belgium 0

De Bruyne crosses from the right but France clear and look for the counter. Vertonghen gives away a foul on Mbappe. Less than two minutes to play.

7:50am: 90+2 mins - France 1 Belgium 0

Belgium bring on Michy Batshuayi, six minutes of injury time. Free kick for France, Mbappe and Griezmann stand over it and they look to hold possession. De Bruyne gives away a foul as France continue to run the clock down.

7:46am: 89 mins - France 1 Belgium 0

Belgium throwing everything forward now. Carrasco and Hazard combine down the left and win a free kick after Kante brings down the Belgium skipper. De Bruyne stands over the dead ball, a lot of bodies for him to aim at. N'Zonzi clears the ball but there's a scramble before Mbappe clears.

The ball drops again to De Bruyne, who crosses for Lukaku, but the striker can't get a touch. Goal kick France.

7:39am: 82 mins - France 1 Belgium 0

Chance for Belgium! Quick feet from Hazard sees the ball drop at the feet of Witsel, who hammers a shot straight at Lloris, but the France captain reads it well and punches clear.

7:36am: 79 mins - France 1 Belgium 0

Mbappe wins a free kick wide on the right in the Belgium half. Griezmann again stands over it, he finds the head of Pogba, but the header is way over the bar.

7:28am: 71 mins - France 1 Belgium 0

Belgium with over 50 per cent of possession so far, but France are playing their game plan to perfection. Alderweireld runs down the right, but Giroud tracks back to end the Belgian threat.

7:23am: 66 mins - France 1 Belgium 0

Dries Mertens has come on as a sub for Dembele, and straight away could prove to be the difference maker. He finds Fellaini with a cross from the right, but the header is over the bar.

7:20am: 64 mins - France 1 Belgium 0

Corner for Belgium, Chadli takes, France clear and try to counter. Hazard brings down Matuidi and is booked.

7:14am: 57 mins - France 1 Belgium 0

France slicing Belgium to bits! Matuidi finds Mbappe in the box, before a back heel puts Giroud clean through on goal. His shot is saved by the oncoming Courtois though. Belgium in real danger now.

7:12am: 55 mins - France 1 Belgium 0

Matuidi is bought down on the edge of the area, giving France another free kick. Griezmann stands over it. He curls his ball in, but Kompany clears.

7:08am: 51 mins - France 1 Belgium 0

GOAL!!! France open the scoring! Les Bleus have a corner, Griezmann stands over it. He takes and finds the head of Umtiti who fires it home! France break the deadlock and now Belgium have it all to do for a spot in the final.

7:02am: 46 mins - France 0 Belgium 0

Belgium get the game restarted, and straight away De Bruyne bursts into the France area. Corner to Belgium, they play it short but Kante intercepts.

7:01am

Both sides back out on the pitch. What will this second half bring? Could we be heading to extra time?

6:46am: HALFTIME - France 0 Belgium 0

Scoreless at the break. Belgium started the better of the two sides, but France have come roaring back in the latter stages of the first half. We'll be back shortly for the second spell of this first 2018 Football World Cup semi-finals.

6:44am: 44 mins - France 0 Belgium 0

Free kick for France right on the edge of the area, with Pogba bought down. Griezmann will take it, does he cross or shoot? He shoots, but straight into the wall.

6:40am: 40 mins - France 0 Belgium 0

What a save from Courtois in goal! Pavard breaks down the right before getting his shot away, but the Belgium keeper reaches out to prevent the goal. France have come to life late in this first half.

6:34am: 34 mins - France 0 Belgium 0

Huge chance for the French! A ball over the top finds Mbappe in space on the right, he passes back inside to Giroud, but he can't connect properly with the shot. Goal kick for Belgium.

6:31am: 31 mins - France 0 Belgium 0

Free kick for France in the Belgium half. Griezmann stands over it. He plays it wide to Pavard, who swings in a cross - Giroud meets it but the header is off target.

6:25am: 25 mins - France 0 Belgium 0

France win their first corner after Hernandez's shot is blocked. Griezmann takes, but Fellaini meets the ball and clears with a header.

6:22am: 22 mins - France 0 Belgium 0

Another Belgium corner. Chadli takes and the first header is missed by Giroud. The ball drops to Alderweireld, who shoots but Lloris produces a world-class save in goal! Another corner for Belgium, but Kompany gives away a free kick against Pogba.

6:19am: 19 mins - France 0 Belgium 0

Hazard fires a shot from close range, but Varane does brilliantly to block the shot and save a certain goal. Corner for Belgium. Chadli takes, but Umtiti clears.

6:16am: 16 mins - France 0 Belgium 0

De Bruyne finds Hazard in the box with a delicate through ball. The winger fires his shot left-footed, but it just shapes wide of the back post. France run down the other end where Matuidi claims a corner, but the referee says goal kick.

6:11am: 11 mins - France 0 Belgium 0

First real chance for France now. A ball over the top from Mbappe has Giroud up against Vertonghen, he can't quite control it though. Belgium clear the danger.

6:07am: 7 mins - France 0 Belgium 0

Corner for Belgium. Chadli to take - but the ball's missed everyone and goes out for a goal kick. France have seen very little of possession so far.

6:03am: 3 mins - France 0 Belgium 0

Belgium surge forward through Hazard down the left, finding Vertonghen back inside him. The defender moves the ball in to De Bruyne who finds Chadli. De Bruyne crosses in, but there's no one there to meet it.

6:00am: KICKOFF - France 0 Belgium 0

We're away, France get the first semi-final going.

5:40am

Here are the confirmed starting sides for today's clash:

France (4-3-3): 1. Hugo Lloris (gk & c), 2. Benjamin Pavard, 4. Raphael Varane 5. Samuel Umtiti, 21. Lucas Hernandez, 13. N'Golo Kanté, 6. Paul Pogba, 10. Kylian Mbappe 7. Antoine Griezmann, 14. Blaise Matuidi, 9. Olivier Giroud.

Belgium (3-4-1-2): 1. Thibaut Courtois, 2. Toby Alderweireld, 4. Vincent Kompany, 5. Jan Vertonghen, 6. Axel Witsel, 22. Nacer Chadli, 19. Mousa Dembélé, 8. Marouane Fellaini, 7. Kevin De Bruyne, 9. Romelu Lukaku, 10. Eden Hazard (c).

5:30am

Here we are, the first of our 2018 semi-finals.

For Belgium, a chance at their first ever World Cup final waits, while France are wanting their first title since 1998.

We'll have final starting XIs for you shortly.

France celebrate after reaching the Football World Cup final
France celebrate after reaching the Football World Cup final Source: Associated Press


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