While this World Cup has become celebrated for its goals and incredible shocks, Tuesday’s semi-final between France and Belgium produced a more typical occasion with Les Bleus prevailing, 1-0.
Samuel Umtiti leapt like a salmon at the near-post to seal the game’s only goal midway through the first half, the assist coming via Antoine Griezmann’s immaculately whipped corner kick.
Sticking to the 3-4-3 that has brought success throughout the knockout rounds thus far, Roberto Martinez saw his players struggle to create clear cut chances in the face of a brilliantly stout French backline.
Benjamin Pavard and Corentin Tolisso were the ones presented with the best chances to grab the second goal only for Thibaut Courtois to manage smart saves, with Belgium reduced to hitting long balls into the box for Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini.
However France stood firm and enjoyed a relatively stress free night with Sunday’s final against one of Croatia or England beckoning.