Hugo shuts out Belgium to help France reach World Cup final
PUBLISHED: 10:00 11 July 2018
PA Archive/PA Images
The Spurs skipper made an excellent and crucial save to deny club team-mate Toby Alderweireld with the game goalless
Tottenham Hotspur captain Hugo Lloris continued his fine form in Russia with a top showing to help France defeat Belgium 1-0 last night and make it through to the final of the World Cup.
Spurs’ captain was up against three club colleagues in Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld and Mousa Dembele and managed to help his country reach Sunday’s showpiece event following some important saves.
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez sprung a surprise by handing Dembele a start for the last-four encounter.
There was lots of anticipation ahead of the game, but the semi-final turned into a tense and tactical encounter.
France were set up in a compact way by Didier Deschamp and chances were few and far between in the first half.
Eventually an opening occurred and when it did, Les Bleus captain Lloris had to be at his best.
A corner fell kindly for Spurs team-mate Alderweireld and he spun and let fly from 14-yards, but Tottenham and France’s captain reacted superbly to tip away his effort at full stretch and keep the game goalless.
It was another stunning save from Lloris after similar heroics in the 2-0 quarter-final win over Uruguay.
The stop ensured it was level at half time, but six minutes into the second period the deadlock was broken.
Samuel Umtiti rose highest in the Belgium penalty area to head home a corner and make it 1-0 to France in the 51st minute.
It was very nearly 2-0 when Kylian Mbappe’s outrageous flick put Olivier Giroud in on goal, but Dembele got back impressively to slid in and thwart the danger.
Belgium then began to increase the pressure and Lloris was called into action again as Axel Witsel’s long-range effort was parried away by the Spurs and France skipper.
The Red Devils pressed some more, but couldn’t break down Les Bleus and so they made it through to Sunday’s World Cup final.
After keeping a second consecutive clean sheet, Lloris will now wait and see tonight if he will be up against some of his Tottenham team-mates and England this weekend or Croatia for a chance to be crowned world champions.
For Spurs’ Belgium trio, they have one more match to play – the third/fourth-place play-off on Saturday afternoon.
It was a disappointing end for the likes of Vertonghen, Alderweireld and Dembele, especially as this could potentially be their last-ever World Cup and they will hope to try and finish on a high this weekend.