France are in the World Cup finals for the first time in 20 years after beating Belgium 1-0 in a tense match at the St Petersburg Stadium on Tuesday.
Belgium came into the tie as slight favourites on the back of their stunning upset of five-time champions Brazil in the quarterfinals, but Samuel Umtiti’s header in the 51st minute was enough to send the French into Sunday’s final.
Roberto Martinez’s men began the brighter side, dominating possession as France, sitting deep, looked to hit on the break.
Eden hazard flashed a shot wide from the left, before causing a mighty scare when after he turned Benjamin Pavard and unleashed a fierce drive that brushed Rafael Varane’s head as it sailed over the crossbar.
France went close at the other end when Pavard broke free, only for his close-range effort to be denied by Thibaut Courtois.
Then the breakthrough came six minutes after the restart when Umtiti evaded Marouane Fellaini to power home Antoine Griezmann’s cross.
Martinez responded by throwing on Dries Mertens, and later Yannick Carrasco, but they found the French defence impossible to breach despite a number of teasing balls from De Bruyne and Mertens.
Substitute Corentin Tolisso could have ended the game in the third minute of stoppage time when he was released by Pogba, but he was denied the Courtois.
It didn’t matter though as Didier Deschamps men held on for the massive win that takes them one step closer to a second World Cup triumph.