Eden Hazard: 'I prefer to lose with Belgium than win with France'

2018 FIFA World Cup Prediction: France vs Belgium

His knowledge of the game, so eloquently expressed as a pundit on Sky Sports, helped Belgium qualify for the World Cup unbeaten and win all five of their matches in Russian Federation - until the semi-final.

In one of the less memorable games of Russian Federation 2018 at the venue of the final, Denmark and France played out a goalless draw - a result which saw both sides progress, with Les Bleus top of the group.

The defender headed home a corner from Antoine Griezmann in the 51st minute to settle the all-European tie, booking Les Bleus a trip to Moscow.

Lloris is the captain and he played a key role against Belgium, diving to his right midway through the first half to claw away Toby Alderweireld's shot and then getting in front of Lukaku to punch away one of substitute Dries Mertens' many crosses.

"Have I been annoyed by France?".

Asked whether he was annoyed by France's style, De Bruyne replied (via Sport Witness): "No, I play at City".

Indeed, this defeat brought Belgium's 24-match unbeaten run to an end.

"I prefer to lose with this Belgium than win with that France", said the Chelsea man, with teammate Courtois adding: "France have played anti-football".

France’s Samuel Umtiti scores their first goal past Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois
France’s Samuel Umtiti scores their first goal past Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois

A second-half header from Samuel Umtiti proved to be the only goal and the match-winner as the Belgian Red Devils failed to convert their dominance and break a tight French defence as their 24 match unbeaten streak in worldwide football came to an end. I don't think it's a case of us not being focused enough.

Eden Hazard provided more attacking threat than any other Belgium player but he also found himself frustrated by France's setup.

A portent sign perhaps - the last time three French defenders scored at a World Cup was in 1998. Lukaku had just 22 touches of the ball.

Aside from being the match victor, Umtiti had a tight partnership with Raphael Varane in central defence. "I really hope to do it in the final".

With Ngolo Kante marshalling the effort, France were on De Bruyne and Hazard like a flash, snuffing out the slightest opportunity for them to probe the French defence.

France reached their third World Cup final after overcoming Belgium on Tuesday, sparking scenes of unconfined joy in Paris as tens of thousands of people poured into the streets.

"What we did 20 years ago will always remain, but you have to live in the present, you can't look in the rear-view mirror, you have to move forward", explained Deschamps.

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