France Struggled to Beat Belgium and Reach the Quarter-Finals of Euro Cup 2024

France beat Belgium
France beat Belgium (Credit: Getty Images)

The French national team made it to the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 Germany, but not before suffering a little more than expected on Monday in their round of 16 match against Belgium (1-0), which ended up being decided in the final minutes by an own goal by Jan Vertonghen.

France, who came into this championship as the big favourites to lift the trophy, once again fell short of their game, although they managed to successfully resolve a match that seemed headed for extra time against a Belgian team that was able to cause problems for the French.

Also Read: Switzerland Overcame Italy and Got the Current Champion Out of the Way at Euro 2024

After four games, Didier Deschamps’ team has not shown why it is one of the big favourites. So far in the tournament, it has only managed to score three goals, including Monday’s goal, which came thanks to the Belgian defender’s lack of luck and was the second own goal for the French.

In the final minutes of the match in Düsseldorf, when the French seemed to be thinking more about holding off Belgium’s pressure and preparing for extra time, luck smiled on them and they were rewarded with a prize that was much bigger than what they showed on the field.

In an attacking play that ended with a shot by Randal Kolo Muani (m.85) that seemed to be easily controlled by Belgian goalkeeper Koen Casteels, a deflection of the ball after hitting Jan Vertonghen’s leg complicated the situation that ended with the French goal.

Mbappe, again wearing a mask to protect his fractured nose, had five shots but none were on target in a dull game in which the teams cancelled each other out.

“We did our best to create chances and we created more than them, but we waited and didn’t fall into their trap. I liked it, but obviously, you can’t win with possession alone. I would like to see us create more chances,” said Didier Deschamps.

France’s lacklustre performance, winning on an own goal, was followed by a penalty converted by Mbappe in the group stage. These are France’s only goals at Euro Cup 2024.

Mbappe will be in the quarter-finals of the European Championship for the first time, as France lost on penalties to Switzerland in the round of 16 at the last tournament in 2021.

It was also a fine moment for Kolo Muani, whose last great moment at a major tournament came when he fired home in the dying seconds of extra time in the 2022 World Cup final against Argentina. His shot was sensationally saved by Emiliano Martinez when a goal would surely have given France the title.

“I was lucky enough to shoot on goal and the ball went in,” said Muani. “We are very, very happy and very, very proud.”

Belgium return home after a poor Euro 2024 campaign, facing jeers from their own fans following a 0-0 draw with Ukraine at the end of the group stage.

Belgium captain Kevin De Bruyne played as a deeper midfielder in an attempt to help control the game and close spaces for the French attackers.

The strategy would have been a masterstroke if Belgium had won.

It was not to be, and coach Domenico Tedesco is likely to receive further criticism.

After their narrow victory over Belgium, the French national team is still waiting to find out who will be their opponent in the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 Germany, which will be the winner of the duel between Portugal and Slovenia that takes place this Monday.

For the next round of matches, which will take place at the Volksparkstadion in Hamburg, France will be without midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who will serve a one-match suspension after receiving his second yellow card of this championship on Monday.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *