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France beat Belgium's 'golden generation' to reach World Cup final

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France beat Belgium's 'golden generation' to reach World Cup final. France beat Belgium's 'golden generation' to reach World Cup final.

(CNN) -- Twenty years after France first won the World Cup, Les Bleus moved to within one match of repeating the feats of the celebrated team of 1998 by beating Belgium to reach Sunday's final.

Didier Deschamp's men overcame a gifted Belgian team, dubbed the 'golden generation' for the talents at its disposal. But though Belgium has the accomplished Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, France has equally brilliant players in Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe.

Yet for all the fizz and sparkle of the attacking talents on display at St Petersburg, it was set-piece goal from centre-back Samuel Umtiti which set France on its way to a first World Cup final since 2006.

The Barcelona man's 51st-minute winning header made him the third French defender to score at this tournament. A portent sign perhaps because the last time three French defenders scored at a World Cup was in 1998.

While Les Bleus prepare to face either England or Croatia for the sport's biggest prize, Belgium must compete in the third-place playoff Saturday having suffered a first defeat in two years.

For all its possession, Belgium -- the top scorers in this competition -- were unable to break a robust French defense and will rue not capitalizing on its dominant first-half display.

More to follow.

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