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Superb defense takes France 1 game away from World Cup glory

Updated: 2018-07-11 07:17
France's Hugo Lloris makes a save. [Photo/Agencies]

ST. PETERSBURG, Russia — France's defense made the difference — on both sides of the field.

Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris kept out the shots and defender Samuel Umtiti scored the winning goal.

It was France's backline, not its slick attackers, carrying the team to the World Cup final with a 1-0 win against Belgium on Tuesday.

No wonder coach Didier Deschamps fell into Umtiti's arms after the final whistle. His superbly drilled defense, led by an imperious Raphael Varane, neutralized Belgium's much-hyped attack to record a fourth shutout in six games so far.

France's Samuel Umtiti scores their first goal. [Photo/Agencies]

Umtiti danced in front of the France fans, while his center back partner Varane walked over to them and pumped his clenched fist. Varane was injured when France lost the European Championship final two years ago, and he looks determined to make up for it.

France's Hugo Lloris in action. [Photo/Agencies]
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