World Cup 2022: Croatia draw sees Belgium crash out and Martinez depart, they must now rebuild

Croatia's players and teammembers celebrate at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group F football match between Croatia and Belgium at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on December 1, 2022. (Photo by Chandan KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

As good as Croatia were for sustained periods, Belgium had ample opportunity to punish Zlatko Dalic’s side. Instead, they again rued missed goalscoring chances and a startling lack of urgency at times, with their goalless draw on MD3 meaning the golden generation have failed to qualify from the World Cup group stages. Roberto Martinez’s contract expired at the tournament’s end and well, the inquest into their latest underachievement must be thorough. Continue reading

World Cup 2022: Belgium boss Martinez rubbishes negative news before crunch clash vs. Croatia

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 30: Roberto Martinez, Head Coach of Belgium, speaks during the Belgium Press Conference at the Main Media Center on November 30, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)

Having laboured to a lacklustre 1-0 win over Canada, then being stunned 2-0 by Morocco on MD2, Roberto Martinez’s Belgium enter today’s group stage encounter with Croatia – the World Cup runners-up four years ago – aware tournament progression remains in their hands. As speculation about dwindling team dynamics and squad division persists, the 49-year-old Spaniard insists critics should enjoy what’s left of this golden generation, not inventing stories. Continue reading

Anass Zaroury: Who is Burnley winger replacing Amine Harit in Morocco’s World Cup squad?

Anass Zaroury of Burnley celebrates after scoring their side's second goal during the Sky Bet Championship between Burnley and Blackburn Rovers at...

The 22-year-old, capped by Belgium from under-17 to under-21 level, has settled quickly to life under compatriot Vincent Kompany in Lancashire – six goals and two assists since his August transfer – and French reports today suggest he’ll be the man tasked with replacing Amine Harit in Morocco’s World Cup squad after the Marseille midfielder’s nasty knee injury on Sunday. Continue reading

Spain 1-2 France: Les Bleus seal Nations League title the hard way after nailbiting finish

Hugo Lloris of France lifts The UEFA Nations League Trophy following their team's victory in the UEFA Nations League 2021 Final match between Spain...

World champions France recovered from another deficit, for the second time in four days, to be crowned the 2021 UEFA Nations League champions with a 2-1 win over Euro 2020 semi-finalists Spain. Just like their comeback win over Belgium, goals from Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe saw them storm ahead in a frenetic second-half packed with chances for both sides.  Continue reading

World Cup Final Preview: France vs Croatia – All or nothing

After an unpredictable tournament packed with memorable moments, France and Croatia will contest the 21st World Cup final at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on Sunday afternoon. Both sides have worked hard and battled through difficult moments to get here, but both know their final opponent pose various threats; so they’ll be equally bullish about their chances of bringing home the ultimate prize.

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France 1-0 Belgium: Umtiti’s header breaks Belgians in smash-and-grab victory

France's Samuel Umtiti celebrates scoring his side's first goal of the game

France are through to the 2018 World Cup final after a 1-0 victory over Belgium in a tense semi-final encounter in St Petersburg. Both sides fashioned great chances, although the deadlock was finally broken after the interval where Samuel Umtiti leaped above Marouane Fellaini from a corner before heading beyond Thibaut Courtois at the near post.

In a real battle, Les Bleus came out on top and have plenty of players to thank – namely the goalscorer, his centre-back partner Raphael Varane for immense displays at the back, as well as goalkeeper Hugo Lloris for a string of impressive saves to keep the scores goalless in the first-half.   Continue reading