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Late Own Goal Secures France 1-0 Victory Over Belgium

by: EdwardB


France secured a nervy 1-0 victory over a disappointing Belgium side on July 1st, advancing to the quarter-finals of the European Championship despite another underwhelming attacking display. A deflected shot by substitute Randal Kolo Muani, ultimately credited as a Jan Vertonghen own goal, proved to be the difference in a cagey encounter.

A Match Defined by Missed Chances

France dominated possession throughout the match, but their struggles in front of goal continued. They created several promising opportunities, but their finishing lacked precision.

The first half saw a curling cross from Jules Kounde find Marcus Thuram, who headed wide. After the break, Aurelien Tchouameni forced a save from Koen Casteels, while Kylian Mbappe miskicked a decent chance.

Belgium, seemingly content to absorb pressure, rarely threatened. Their only notable attack came when Yannick Carrasco prepared to shoot, only to be denied by a brilliant tackle from Theo Hernandez. Romelu Lukaku and De Bruyne later tested Mike Maignan, but the French goalkeeper stood firm.

As the game wore on, France frustration grew. William Saliba and Mbappe both blazed shots over the bar, highlighting their ongoing struggles to convert chances.

Mike Maignan

A Late Twist of Fate

Just when it seemed the match was destined for a goalless draw, Kolo Muani made a decisive impact. A neat combination of passes, initiated by N’Golo Kante, created space for the substitute. He turned and unleashed a mishit shot that deflected off the leg of Vertonghen and wrong-footed Casteels, finding the back of the net.

The goal, while fortunate, was enough to secure victory for France.

Deschamps Remains Optimistic Despite Attacking Woes

Despite the unconvincing performance, France coach Didier Deschamps chose to focus on the positive result.

He mentioned that we can always score more. Since the start of the Euros, this has been our predicament, but that doesn’t imply we can’t find the back of the net. We hope that this won’t become a psychological obstacle for us.

Deschamps hopes to be the first person to achieve victory in both the World Cup and European Championship as a player and coach, and he understands that in tournament football, the outcome is more important than the style.

We accomplished many positive actions. We should cherish this moment. He stated that we’ve advanced to the quarter-finals while they are heading home. It’s a positive behavior to have.

Belgium Golden Generation Fades

Belgium loss resulted in another disheartening departure from a significant competition. Their previously promising “golden generation” has not lived up to expectations on the grandest platform.

Their lack of ambition and attacking threat was evident throughout the match. Kevin De Bruyne, arguably their most talented player, admitted their disappointment but accepted the result.

We were presented with a few opportunities, although not many. Subsequently, the opposition scored, leaving us with insufficient time to respond, he remarked. Initially, we were maintaining a solid defense; however, a deflection occurred. It’s disappointing, but that’s the nature of football.

Looking Ahead

France is set to play against Portugal in the quarter-finals in Hamburg on July 5th. If they want to advance in the tournament, they must improve their precision in front of the goal.

Belgium, meanwhile, must reflect on another missed opportunity. Their failure to capitalize on their talented squad will leave many wondering what could have been.

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