Wednesday, July 24, 2024

France 1-0 Belgium: What Were The Main Talking Points As Les Bleus Snatch A Quarter-Final Ticket In Dusseldorf?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, European Championships 2 Jul 2024

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While France might have once again struggled to find much fluidity on Monday evening, Les Bleus punched their EURO 24 quarter-final ticket thanks to a nervy 1-0 victory against Belgium.

Although many of Europe’s biggest superstars might have stolen centre stage in Dusseldorf, chances came at a real premium as both sides struggled to make much of a statement.

While France might have edged ahead of the Red Devils in many departments, Belgium had that chance to snatch a famous late winner of their own as Manchester City talisman Kevin De Bruyne saw his effort denied by Mike Maignan.

However, in a showdown that almost appeared destined to be heading for extra-time, former Tottenham star Jan Vertonghen was left heartbroken as Randal Kolo Muani’s effort was deflected off the veteran defender in the final five minutes.

Dragging themselves over the finishing line here and extending on their European adventure, France will now have all of their attention focused on a heavyweight quarter-final battle against Portugal on Friday night.

As for Belgium, once again drastically falling short on the major tournament stage and mustering just a single victory over in Germany this summer, the Red Devils will be bracing themselves for a major backlash.

On an evening when France had to show their resolve in Dusseldorf, we have taken a look at the main talking points.

France drag themselves over the finishing line

Relinquishing their World Cup crown out in Qatar 18 months ago as they suffered the most brutal of heartbreak in the winter of 2022, France were always seeking an immediate response on the major tournament stage this summer.

Opening their EURO 24 adventure pencilled in alongside fellow European heavyweights England as the pre-tournament favourites, Les Bleus are still waiting to find top gear.

Signing off their Group D run with a 1-1 stalemate against Poland on June 25th and eventually forced to settle for a silver medal finish behind Poland, France have largely flattered to deceive so far this summer.

However, still looking to get their hands on a first European Championship crown since way back in 2000, the Blues will now have all of their attention focused on a heavyweight quarter-final battle against Portugal.

Watching the 2016 European champions claw past Slovenia on Monday night and avoid what would have been an infamous exit, France and Portugal will meet in Hamburg this weekend with a final four spot hanging in the balance.

Les Bleus still searching for a clinical edge

While France might have eventually punched their quarter-final ticket on Monday evening and edged past Belgium’s golden generation in Dusseldorf, Les Bleus once again missed out on the chance to make a much-welcomed statement.

With skipper and talisman Kylian Mbappe struggling to find top gear despite converting from the spot against Poland last week, Deschamps’ all-star attack are still searching for their fearsome best.

In the end of Monday’s showdown they finished with 19 shots in Dusseldorf on goal but just two of those were on target and they failed to ask any major questions of Koen Casteels’ goal.

Likewise, with their dramatic late winner ruled as a Vertonghen own goal, that means that the European giants are still waiting for their first goal from open play so far in Germany.

Although Deschamps’ men might have continued to show their defensive steel on either side of opening this summer’s tournament, they will need to find some bite if they are to end their 24 years without a European crown.

Belgium face a major backlash

Enduring a public World Cup nightmare out in Qatar 18 months ago as they remarkably failed to progress out of the group stage, it was no secret that Belgium were relishing a return to the major tournament stage this summer.

With this certainly their golden generations final chance to get their hands on a maiden piece of international silverware, the Red Devils drastically flattered to deceive once again.

Getting their European Championship adventure underway with an infamous 1-0 defeat at the hands of Slovakia on June 17th, Belgium should be bracing themselves for a monumental backlash when they return home over the coming days.

Collecting just a single victory from any of their four EURO 24 appearances over in Germany this summer, there will also be plenty of fingers pointed at Domenico Tedesco and questions over his long-term future.

With the likes of Manchester City icon De Bruyne failing to confirm if he will be part of Belgium’s international set-up going forward, Belgium have certainly been one of this summer’s ultimate disappointments.

Match Report

France: Maignan, Hernandez, Saliba, Upamecano, Kounde, Rabiot, Tchouameni, Kante, Griezmann, Thuram, Mbappe

Subs: Kolo Muani

Belgium: Casteels, Theate, Vertonghen, Faes, Castagne, Onana, De Bruyne, Carrasco, Doku, Openda, Lukaku

Subs: Mangala, De Ketelaere, Lukébakio

Goals: Vertonghen OG (85’)

Yellow Cards: France: Rabiot, Griezmann, Tchouameni – Belgium: Vertonghen

Red Cards: N/A

Referee: Glenn Nyberg

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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