This match on paper worthy to be a world cup final let alone a Nations League semi. But fate would pit the world champs against the number one ranked team in the world. It was a tale of the proverbial two halves, Belgian on top in the first and France coming up trumps in the second and decisive portion. Belgian coach Roberto Martinez will no doubt face the brickbats for how he handled that second half. In the first half neither side could complete a sequence of forward passes consistently without losing possession in midfield(I consider 3 or more forward passes as benchmark). However Belgium had the most passes in the opposition box in the first half and with that stat it was no surprising they took the lead. It was folly however of Hugo Lloris to be beaten on his near post on both goals. The Spurs goalminder concedes a lot of goals from his near post in premier league although he did make a telling save from De Bruyne to keep scores at 0-0.
France in the second half upped the tempo. Interesting to see brothers in the same line up on the same side of the field. Theo and Lucas Hernandez starred for Le Bleus on the left side on defense and attack in a 3-5-2. Wise choice by Didier Deschamps as Theo for Milan is more of a left winger in as much as Lucas is more defensive minded at Bayern. The contentious penalty award was the turning point for me. Antoine Griezmann did go down too easily but penalties are a very subjective matter all together. No doubt the most impressive Frenchman on the pitch was Mbappe. The PSG man had the most dribbles of anyone on the pitch and was involved in both goals that made it 2-2. The fact that Belgium sat back and tried to absorb the French pressure didn’t help matters. Let us dish out the prizes now. For Belgium, Kevin De Bruyne impressed in defeat with passing accuracy as well as attempts on target(he had two that brought the best out of Lloris). Mbappe for France was impressive and looked hungry as he redeemed himself from that penalty miss at Euro 2020.