Kylian Mbappe inspired France's comeback on Thursday night as Le Blues booked a place in the UEFA Nations League final with a 3-2 win ...
|Kylian Mbappe inspired France's comeback on Thursday night as Le Blues booked a place in the UEFA Nations League final with a 3-2 win over Belgium. (Photo credit: Sky Sports)|
The UEFA Nations League is proving to be a scintillating affair with yet another five-goal thriller on Thursday as reigning world champions France booked their place in the final with a 3-2 comeback win over Belgium at the Allianz stadium.
France coach Didier Deschamps had said on Wednesday that Le Bleus need this particular tourney to boost their form, one that saw them crash out of Euros at the quarter final stage on penalties to Switzerland.
World number one Belgium got on to a fine start and dominated the game with beautiful possession football and they eventually got something to show for it as the half wore on when Yanick Carrasco fired past Hugo Lloris from a Kevin De Bruyne assist.
One became two before the half ended, another fine assist by De Bruyne set Romelu Lukaku up, the Chelsea striker roamed to the far right and beat Lloris at his near post with a finish that explains why Chelsea paid so much to bring him back to Stamford Bridge.
It was all looking like France was done and dusted, but Deschamps changed the system in the second half to accommodate high press and intense wing plays; pushing up Benjamin Pavard and Theo Hernandez from both flanks.
Karim Benzema started the comeback right after the hour mark. The Real Madrid striker twisted and turned at the edge of the Belgium area after some excellent work from Kylian Mbappe to fire past Thibaut Courtois to half the deficit.
Then a controversial moment followed; Leicester midfielder Youri Tielemans was adjudged to have tripped Antoine Griezmann in the box and the referee awarded the penalty after the VAR intervention.
Mbappe who had gone six international games without a goal converted from the spot, rising above the shattering moment at the Euros where his penalty miss on home soil sent Le Bleus crashing from the tournament.
Lukaku thought he had won it for the Red Devils when he turned swiftly to leave his marker chasing shadows with just two minutes left on the clock but VAR intervened again against Belgium and the striker was ruled offside;
To make it hurt the more, right after that incident, France scored what proved the winner as Benzema left a pass from Mbappe to roll to Hernandez, whose sensational left foot strike beat Courtois but you’d wonder if the Real Madrid shot stopper could have done better.
France will meet Spain in the final on Sunday at San Siro. "We were unlucky in the first half. We sat back a little too much," said France coach Didier Deschamps.