Kylian Mbappé against  Belgium  at Saint Petersburg Stadium. His quick feet buy him and his teammates extra space inside congested penalty areas. Photograph: Getty Images

Solid foundations begin in defence France’s tactics in the 1-0 semi-final win against Belgium did not draw universal approval. “They have played ant(...)

Didier Deschamps lifts the  Jules Rimet trophy at the Stade de France in 1998. The former France  captain could become just the third man to win the World Cup as a player and manager.  Photograph: Daniel Garcia/AFP/Getty Images

Almost 20 years to the day since France beat Brazil 3-0 in Paris to win their first and only World Cup, the man who captained a team that united a nat(...)

 Belgium’s Eden Hazard: “We can be proud of what we have achieved. As a captain, I am happy to be part of this team.” Photograph:  Anton Vaganov/Reuters

Thibaut Courtois has accused France of being an “anti-football team” following Belgium’s 1-0 World Cup semi-final loss to Les Bleus in Saint Petersbur(...)

Kylian Mbappe celebrates France’s 1-0 win over Belgium. Photograph: Christophe Simon/AFP/Getty

When the final whistle came, the sheer joy of the celebrations came as a surprise. Kylian Mbappé was face down on the ground, Hugo Lloris racing up th(...)

Samuel Umtiti of France scores during their 2018 World Cup semi-final clash with Belgium in St Petersburg. Photo: Zurab Kurtsikidze/EPA

France 1 Belgium 0 Two decades after he captained one great French side to a world title on home soil, Didier Deschamps is on the brink of engineerin(...)

   Kylian Mbappe:  has really impressed at this World Cup with his pace, control and dribbling skills that combine to give France  a cutting edge in attack. Photograph: Kirill Dudravatsev/AFP/Getty

So, here we are in the semi-finals. This was the target set for Didier Deschamps by the French Federation, so he can take a bow and say the job’s done(...)

Uruguay’s Fernando Muslera lets Antoine Griezmann’s shot slip through his hands during the 2018 World Cup quarter-final against France in Nizhny Novgorod. Photo: Carlos Barria/Reuters

Uruguay 0 France 2 Uruguay are the smallest country to win the World Cup but their defeat to France showed why little countries find it harder to lif(...)

Kylian Mbappe   scores to put France 3-2 ahead during the last 16 victory over Argentina in Kazan. Photograph: Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA

France 4 Argentina 3 This was surely no way for a player with a serious claim to being the best on the planet to exit the international game’s great(...)

 France forward Kylian Mbappe  celebrates with team-mate  Antoine Griezmann after scoring their fourth goal  in the round of 16 World Cup clash against Argentina  at the Kazan Arena. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

France 4 Argentina 3 If Argentina paid much attention to France’s pre-tournament friendlies they might be forgiven if they made the mistake of discou(...)

 Kylian Mbappe (right) celebrates scoring France’s winner against Peru with Anoine Griezmann.  France have managed just three goals to date – fewer than any other group winners. Photograph: Anne-Christine/AFP/Getty

Like Joachim Löw, Didier Deschamps came to Russia having to hope that his side would gel over the course of group stages then, hey presto, pull a rabb(...)

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