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Belgium vs France live on October 7, 2021: Two giants battle it out for spot in UEFA Nations League final

October 6, 2021 By Ali M.
Les Bleus will take on the Red Devils in Thursday's semifinal showdown with the goal of erasing their disappointing Euro 2020 campaign from their memory.

Preview

The UEFA Nations League is back, with this young European competition resuming action this midweek for the semifinal stage of the 2020/21 campaign. France and Belgium are two of the last four teams left in this tournament, with these two continental powerhouses set to lock horns this Thursday at 2:45 p.m. ET in a highly-anticipated Allianz Stadium showdown.

Both nations head into this tie on the back of disappointing Euro 2020 campaigns, with both sides failing to get their hands on the trophy. The 2018 World Cup winners were eliminated in the round of 16 by Switzerland in a shocking showdown, with Les Bleus coming back from a goal down to go 3-1 ahead only to throw away their two-goal advantage.

Deschamps' men were undone on penalty shootouts, with Kylian Mbappe missing the decisive kick, sending one of—if not the—title favorites packing. Since then, things have gone downhill rapidly for the two-time World Cup champions, with claims of a row between a few key players and their family members emerging in the aftermath of that surprise defeat.

Their results and performances have also taken a dip, with France failing to win two of their following three games, drawing with Bosnia-Herzegovina and Ukraine before beating Finland 2-0. In fact, throughout Euro 2020, Les Bleus managed only one victory and that was a narrow 1-0 win over France in their opening game. The continental giants finished top of their group but that was down to two nervy draws with Hungary and Portugal.

Belgium were the other favorites for the title, but as is the case with France, the Red Devils came up short, missing out on yet another major international trophy. Roberto Martinez's men did get further than the World Cup holders, making it to the quarterfinals after beating then European champions Portugal 1-0 in the round of 16, but De Bruyne and Co. were undone in the last eight by eventual champions Italy.

Two exquisite goals from Barella and Insigne saw the Azzurri march to a 2-0 lead but a Romelu Lukaku penalty right before the half-time whistle saw Belgium pull one back. Unfortunately for them, they could not breach Roberto Mancini's defense in the second half and were eventually dumped out via a 2-1 scoreline.

While Belgium exhibited better displays than France, their exit was more damning as it saw the Red Devils' golden generation fail to lift silverware once again. With De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Mertens, Witsel, Vertoghen, Alderweireld, and Meunier all being 30 years old or above, the clock is ticking on the world's number one ranked nation. As a result, this could be one of the last venues for them to lift a trophy.

Team news

Belgium: Dries Mertens, Christian Benteke and Divock Origi have all missed out on this squad and will thus play no part in the clash with France. Meunier, having initially been included in the squad, picked up a knee issue and was forced to withdraw, meaning Castagne is likely to deputize, De Bruyne, Lukaku, and Eden Hazard have all been called up and are likely to lead the line.

France: The biggest issue for Deschamps is the absence of N'Golo Kante, with the Chelsea star missing out due to COVID-19. Anthony Martial is also said to have picked up a knock but the Man Utd attacker is no longer an integral figure in Les Bleus' squad and will thus not be missed.

Key stats

  • Belgium have won all but one of their last six outings.

  • France, on the other hand, boast one victory from their last six games, drawing the remaining five.

  • Romelu Lukaku has scored an impressive four goals in his last five international caps.

  • This is the first meeting between these two European powerhouses since their 2018 FIFA World Cup semifinal clash, which France won 1-0.

  • These two nations have locked horns 74 times, with the Red Devils surprisingly boasting the superior head-to-head record, winning 30 encounters to Les Bleus' 25 victories (D19).

Broadcast listings

 

Match details, result and original broadcast info

Belgium 2 - 3 France

October 7, 2021 2:45pmAllianz Stadium (Torino)

This match has ended. Below are the original Live broadcast details for this match.

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