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France end Belgium's dream run, make it to their third world cup final in two decades

Updated : 2018-07-11 08:41:56

A beaming French president. A bummed Belgian king. A goalkeeper seemingly suspended in the air. Two of the World Cup's most potent attacking teams produced just one goal but a bounty of unforgettable images when France and Belgium met in Tuesday's semifinal in St. Petersburg.

For the first 30 minutes or so it was all Belgium, the tournament's most prolific scoring team, with French defenders desperately challenging them. It looked for an instant like the Belgians had broken through when Toby Alderweireld turned and snapped a shot toward the French net from close range. Just as suddenly, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris was horizontal, photos freezing him seemingly floating off the ground in mid-save. His Belgian counterpart, Thibaut Courtois, nearly matched him, sticking out a foot to thwart an out-of-nowhere French chance.

Ultimately, it was Samuel Umtiti rising above everyone else to steer a header past Courtois and the French back to the World Cup final.

France's Antoine Griezmann celebrates at the end of the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
France's Antoine Griezmann celebrates at the end of the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Belgium's Vincent Kompany, left, and France's Paul Pogba vie for the ball during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
Belgium's Vincent Kompany, left, and France's Paul Pogba vie for the ball during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
France's Olivier Giroud, left, tries to control the ball with Belgium's Vincent Kompany during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
France's Olivier Giroud, left, tries to control the ball with Belgium's Vincent Kompany during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
Belgium's Eden Hazard reacts during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Belgium's Eden Hazard reacts during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris deflects a shot by Belgium's Toby Alderweireld during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris deflects a shot by Belgium's Toby Alderweireld during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
France's Samuel Umtiti, (5) heads the ball to score the opening goal of the game during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in, St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
France's Samuel Umtiti, (5) heads the ball to score the opening goal of the game during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in, St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
France's Samuel Umtiti, right celebrates with teammates France's Adil Rami, centre and France's Paul Pogba after defeating Belgium in their semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in, St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. France won the game 1-0. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
France's Samuel Umtiti, right celebrates with teammates France's Adil Rami, centre and France's Paul Pogba after defeating Belgium in their semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in, St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. France won the game 1-0. (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, clenches a fist as he stands beside King Philippe of Belgium prior to the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
French President Emmanuel Macron, right, clenches a fist as he stands beside King Philippe of Belgium prior to the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
France's Samuel Umtiti celebrates past Belgium's Romelu Lukaku at the end of the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. France won 1-0. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
France's Samuel Umtiti celebrates past Belgium's Romelu Lukaku at the end of the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium, in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. France won 1-0. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)
France's Samuel Umtiti, second from left, is congratulated by his teammates France's Antoine Griezmann, Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba, from left, after scoring the opening goal during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
France's Samuel Umtiti, second from left, is congratulated by his teammates France's Antoine Griezmann, Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba, from left, after scoring the opening goal during the semifinal match between France and Belgium at the 2018 soccer World Cup in the St. Petersburg Stadium in St. Petersburg, Russia, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)
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