The international press writes for the first World Cup semi-final

Moscow France’s press is thrilled with their national team and celebrates goalscorer Samuel Umtiti. The sports newspaper “L’Equipe” can hardly believe it: “Fully crazy. Fantastic in terms of game mastery and strategy, Les Bleus Belgium choked to reach the final of the World Cup thanks to the goal of a hero named Samuel Umtiti. The French team is in the final. This is completely crazy. She made it like the most normal thing in the world. Passionate, methodical, superior. “

“Le Monde” and “Le Figaro” dream of the second star on their team’s chest. “Le Monde”: “On the banks of the Neva,” monstrous “Bleus have won a third World Cup final. Victorious (1-0) over Belgium in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, the French team will try to attach a second star to the shirt on Sunday. “

“Le Figaro” writes: “Heroic against Belgium, Les Bleus can dream of a second star.” Furthermore, the newspaper speaks of a “gigantic popular movement”, which was triggered by Didier Deschamp’s team, “as in the era of Zinedine Zinade and company “.

The competition from the second semifinals is rated much weaker than their own footballers, writes “Libération”: “The Blues (…) will go on Sunday against England or Croatia to get a second star, which symbolizes a second world title. Both teams seem less talented and less solid than the French. ”

Unlike in the final against Italy 2006, the French do not expect a head butt and want to make the dream so often quoted on Sunday a reality. The young team has managed to play in the hearts of their followers. “Le Parisien”: “After 20 years we are experiencing a new dream, borne by a youth that makes you want to like it.”

“L’Union”: “You also have to acknowledge that not many” les Bleus “saw the final a month ago. (…) These blues really played with face down cards. You really tricked us. The team is personable. (…) In plain language, they reconciled the French with their national team. “

The Belgian loser press sees the game somewhat differently. “De Standaard” writes: “Belgium have the game but France have the victory.” Despite the defeat, they stand proudly behind their team and the nation. “La Libre”: “For a month, the Teufel inspired Belgium far beyond their followers. Her exploits swept the whole country away. ”“ La Dernière Heure ”:“ The players have proven that Belgium is indeed a nation. ”

Belgium played a great tournament and was almost flawless until the semi-finals. This is also how the “RTBF” sees it: “The devils can leave the tournament with their heads held high. Flawless in the group stage, great in the round of 16 against Japan, heroic against Brazil, they allowed us to live unforgettable emotions. “

Other international press reviews from Spain, Italy, Great Britain, Austria and Switzerland are enthusiastic about the French game. The defense in particular is praised, from which, of course, the goal scorer Umtiti stands out. But also red devils from Belgium get their respect because they “fought until the end” (“Ace”, Spain) and “get the better start” (“Blick”, Switzerland).

The dream is still over and the Guardian notes: “The players in blue were overwhelming, and the Belgian side, which relied heavily on Premier League players, will have to wonder if the time for their golden generation will ever come becomes.”

Today, it will be decided who L’Equipe has to compete against in the final and whether one day more relaxation will play into their cards. But “Le Monde” is certain: “As far as the physical condition is concerned, the batteries are still far from empty.”

With material from dpa.


France becomes world champion – who else?

It’s easy to say “I said it”, but: I said it. France beat Belgium in the World Cup semi-finals. Scarce (1-0), with a little luck for the referee (free kick not given at the edge of the box), but well deserved (because of the better play facility). In all betting game rounds, I bet the French as world champions. And there are several good reasons for this.

I have to admit one thing: two of the best reasons only emerged during the tournament, but I generously record that as a prophetic foresight. The two factors are called team spirit (and is not soccer) and Benjamin Pavard.
What’s it called so ugly? But one after anonther. France’s national team, unlike the DFB selection, played a less than perfect qualification. Seven wins, two draws, one loss – ten wins for Germany read differently. The decisive performance for their favorite status was shown by the French at the end of 2017, of all places (!) Against the world champion.

It was 2-2 in Cologne in November, and France played Germany dizzy at times in a high-class game. Both sides showed weaknesses, but above all: Technically and tactically high-quality football with the same admission – wanting to score a goal.

In Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembelé and also Kylian Mbappé, France have playfully outstanding offensive powers. What makes them so dangerous is their unpredictability. France does not need ball possession football for a goal. The crucial thing in the French game is control, the strategic game.

The quarter-finals and semi-finals showed to perfection how outstanding coach Didier Deschamps set Les Bleus. Once in the lead, it is hardly possible to falter the saddled defense of the French. Because every player knows which balls to fight for and which paths to take. And which not.

Ball losses are compensated for by the whole team, Mbappé, Grioud, Pogba, everyone works backwards and closes the rooms. Uruguay had no real chance in the quarter-finals. Belgium had individual attempts by Eden Hazard, whose shots Hugo Lloris could parry in goal. This is sometimes called a gun trap.

The French know how to avoid outnumbered situations in their own half. Also, by not running balls dull, but the orientation to your own penalty area has priority. In the middle the outstanding central defense clears Umtiti and Varanne, behind it Lloris. The full-backs have also caught a dream World Cup so far. Even though Benjamin Pavard was visibly struggling defensively against Eden Hazard (who wouldn’t have that?), The trained central defender has given the game a new dimension in game setup and attack. The 22-year-old has completed eleven international matches so far, seven from the start – five of them at the World Cup. Counterpart Lucas Hernandez does his job solidly and calmly. And in defensive midfield, N’Golo Kante, with his snappy but fair style of play, along with outstanding flair for ball conquests, makes all opponents fear.

France only failed to score against Denmark, but there was an obvious non-aggression pact. Otherwise the goals fell out of the game, as well as counterattack, as well as by standards. Belgium tried to playfully dominate and remained relentlessly inefficient. Ultimately, it was a standard situation at this World Cup that brought the decision.

Hardly anyone of the French, who are not known as a harmonious team, trusted this unified team effort, to which the stars subordinate themselves. But now the team spirit shows with every substitution, with every cheering and every setback. Deschamps speaks a lot with his players, the reserve is also included.

This kind of fighting spirit and tactical discipline is very reminiscent of another team: Germany, world champion 2014. The collective was stronger than the individual experts, but the individual achievements often brought the decisions. The offensive clattered backwards, the central defense kept everything tight. Nobody was out of line, everyone knew what to do. And everyone had fun with it.

France not only painfully shows the dethroned world champion how the virtues of four years ago are still the key to success. They simply show that, regardless of the opponent, it is hardly possible to beat them with this self-confidence and self-image. It is the decisive difference to the World Cup 2016, where the Portuguese showed this collective performance – and France failed in beauty.

No matter whether it is Croatia, which lacks flexibility (like Argentina in 2014), or England, who lacks international maturity (like Germany in 2010): the world champion has already been determined. I said yes

France versus Belgium is a billion dollar game

Düsseldorf, St. Petersburg 1.7 billion euros. The French sports newspaper “L’Equipe” estimates the market values ​​of the players expected to start in the World Cup semi-finals between France and Belgium on this total. Kylian Mbappé is therefore making a contribution of 400 million euros, Antoine Griezmann is contributing 120 million euros, Pogba, Kanté and Varane are increasing by 100 million euros each.

For the Belgians, ex-Wolfsburg’s Kevin De Bruyne with 200 million euros is the measure of all things, even if the potential replacements of Eden Hazard with 170 million and Romelu Lukaku with 150 million euros revolve in similar spheres. Nevertheless, according to the newspaper, the balance sheet at 1.04 billion to 695 million euros is in favor of the French.

It is not a coincidence. France, like the Belgians, has produced a highly talented generation of players. And Paris Saint-Germain and AS Monaco also have a say internationally thanks to investor funds. It’s a little symptomatic of Belgium’s football. For years, the “Red Devils” have been a favorite of large titles. And for years, Belgium has failed surprisingly early for all experts. Now there is an early World Cup final against France. Both teams were noticed as the strongest players in the tournament. France showed tactically superior football against Uruguay, knows how to use the individual class of its stars. Belgium not only showed the most beautiful counterattack of the tournament, Kevin De Bruyne is currently considered the best playmaker in the world – he makes the beautiful game efficient. Commonality of the teams: They appear as a team.

Finding a favorite is difficult. Those involved also know that. “They have great players, but we also know our qualities,” said French shooting star Benjamin Pavard from VfB Stuttgart. After Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, even Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne cannot scare the French. “Against Belgium there will be eleven terriers on the pitch,” said defense colleague Lucas Hernandez before the World Cup semi-final on Tuesday (8:00 p.m. CEST / ARD and Sky) in St. Petersburg. France coach Didier Deschamps promised: “We will do everything we can to seize this opportunity and reach the final.”

But everyone from the Équipe Tricolore also knows what the Red Devils are capable of. In the quarterfinals, they destroyed the title dreams of record world champions Brazil in an impressive manner. “If you defeat Brazil, you don’t have to fear anyone,” says attacking player Nacer Chadli: “For us it is the most important game in our lives. We are ready to fight. “

32 years ago, Belgium failed in its only World Cup semi-final to Diego Maradona and the future world champion Argentina. In the game for third place there was also a defeat against the French. Just no déjà vu, the Belgians say to themselves. “In 1986 in Mexico we were a golden generation. This is a brilliant one, ”believes Belgian goalkeeper legend Jean-Marie Pfaff.

The 2-1 victory in the World Cup quarter-finals from Russia against Neymar’s Brazilians has further strengthened confidence in the Belgians’ own strength. “I don’t think there’s a big difference between Brazil and France,” ex-Bundesliga professional Kevin De Bruyne said.

But one thing is different: for the game against the French, he and his teammates get the tips from none other than France’s record goal scorer Thierry Henry. The 40-year-old has been assistant coach to head coach Roberto Martínez since 2016. Henry won the first and only World Cup for the Grande Nation at the Home World Cup 20 years ago.

The captain of the team was today’s national coach Deschamps. “It’s bizarre because he’s French and sits on the opponent’s bench. For him it must also be bizarre, ”says the 49-year-old before the rendezvous in Russia. But not only Deschamps and Henry know each other very well. Raphaël Varane played at tournaments in Belgium as a boy, he was born not far from the border in Lille.

France’s captain Hugo Lloris plays with Tottenham Hotspur with Toby Alderweireld and Moussa Dembelé, center forward Olivier Giroud at Chelsea with Belgium goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois and offensive genius Eden Hazard. “It’s going to be an unusual match,” Lloris predicted. “We know them well and they know us well.”

Belgium’s Hazard, in turn, was photographed as a young boy by the sea with his brothers Kylian and Thorgan – all in the jersey of the French national team with the number 10, then the number of France’s icon Zinedine Zidane. Eden Hazard also has great respect for the new generation of the French. It was “a closed team with exceptional players like Antoine Griezmann or Kylian Mbappé”, he praised.

Even if the two countries with 66 million inhabitants on the side of France and eleven million on the side of Belgium are unequal, the French also like to make fun of the language of their smaller neighbor, it will be a game at eye level. “50:50”, Giroud estimates the chances. “The hardest thing is yet to come,” says Mbappé. “We have not yet achieved anything,” says Paul Pogba: “Our goal is not the semi-finals.”

Belgium has never been in the World Cup final, the French selection last in Germany in 2006. At that time, the team lost on penalties to Italy. In 2014 France failed in the quarter-finals against Germany, in 2016 the team under Deschamps (in office since 2012) finished second at the European Championship in their own country. “We missed something extraordinary back then. Now we should do everything we can to seize this opportunity, ”Deschamps said.

President Emmanuel Macron can not help accompanying the Équipe tricolore on their penultimate stage on their tour of Russia. And no matter how the game ends, Macron wants to get into the cabin afterwards, said association leader Noël Le Graët in an interview with the newspaper “Le Figaro” (Monday). Preferably for the celebration to move into the finals – just like Belgium’s King Philippe on the opposite side. He also announced his arrival together with his wife, Queen Mathilde.