Sports Desk, Oct 7 (EFE).- Reigning World Cup champions France came from behind to defeat Belgium 3-2 in Thursday’s UEFA Nations League semifinal, setting up a clash with Spain for the trophy.
For Les Bleus, the outcome at Turin’s Juventus Stadium represented redemption after their disappointing performance a few months ago in Euro 2020.
Belgium, meanwhile, remain without a title to their credit during the three years they have been ranked No. 1 by FIFA.
Roberto Martinez’s men were the better side in the first half and led 2-0 at the break thanks to Yannick Carrasco and Romelu Lukaku. Kevin de Bruyne assisted on both goals.
France started the second half with more energy and the Belgians found themselves pinned back.
The breakthrough for the French came in the 62nd minute with a goal by Karim Benzema, who bested Real Madrid teammate Thibaut Courtois to halve the deficit.
Four minutes later, Antoine Griezmann went down in the box after contact with Belgian midfielder Youri Tielemans and though the referee initially waved it off, he ended up awarding the penalty after viewing the replay on the advice of the VAR official.
Kylian Mbappe, who was France’s best player in the first half, converted with authority to level the contest at 2-2 with 20 minutes left in regulation.
Hugo Lloris tipped a De Bruyne strike over the cross-bar in the 73rd minute and Courtois made a good save to deny Paul Pogba in the 77th.
Lukaku thought he won it for Belgium in the 87th minute, but VAR determined the striker was offside and goal was disallowed.
A free kick by Pogba from 25 yards hit the post in the 89th, seconds before Theo Hernandez’s blast beat Courtois to put France ahead for good.
The 2010 and 2018 World Cup winners will meet Sunday in Milan to decide who comes away with the Nations League trophy. EFE