Chance to atone: France boss wants World Cup glory to ease Euro heartache

Sports | 12 Jul 2018

France coach Didier Deschamps urged his side to seize their chance of redemption in the football World Cup final after admitting he has still not got over the pain of defeat in the Euro 2016 final.

Samuel Umtiti headed the only goal in a 1-0 semi-final win over Belgium in St Petersburg, consigning the Red Devils 'golden generation' to another bitter defeat.

France's own supremely talented young squad will now aim to make amends for defeat on home soil to Portugal two years ago in Sunday's showpiece against England or Croatia in Moscow.

"Finals have to be won because we have still not got over the one we lost two years ago," said Deschamps. "It is something exceptional. I am very happy for my players. They are young but they have character, a [winning] mentality."

In a World Cup replete with set-piece goals, a corner again proved decisive when Umtiti timed his run perfectly to meet Antoine Griezmann's delivery six minutes into the second half.

"The difference sadly is a set play in a very close and tight game," lamented Belgium boss Roberto Martinez. "If you are going to have to lose such a match, which is bearable, it is the manner in which our players lost, pushing for everything, trying everything until the final whistle."

Back in Paris, in scenes reminiscent of France's 1998 World Cup win, delirious crowds surged up the Champs-Elysees avenue and surrounded the Arc de Triomphe, waving flags and letting off flares.

The partying was marred by clashes between riot police and mobs on Champs Elysees avenue. Live TV images showed bare-chested men hurling plastic crowd-control barriers and other missiles at the armed officers, who charged back.

In Nice, more than two dozen fans were hurt when the detonation of firecrackers triggered a brief stampede near the seafront.

France President Emmanuel Macron watched the match in St Petersburg and later went down to the players' dressing-room. Asked what Macron told the players, young forward Kylian Mbappe told TF1: "He said he would come back for the final, to see us with the cup."

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