France head coach Roberto Martinez said his side’s defence did a good job of keeping such an “exceptional” striker as France’s Kylian Mbappe under control in their World Cup semi-final in St. Petersburg.
France defender Samuel Umtiti scored the only goal of the match in the 51st minute to help his team reach the World Cup final, where they will face either Croatia or England. Belgium will play in Sunday’s third place play-off (AEST).
“I think he’s [Mbappe] got exceptional talent" Martinez said post-match. "The pace is a real threat for this team. But I thought we coped with this threat really well.
"You can see that the teams set up to use that really well, I think that the French side wants to defend really deep… I thought we defended throughout the game really well.
"When you see a team that of French quality, that only scoring from that opportunity from a corner, I think it really shows the defence was able to cope with Kylian’s threat."
Martinez added it was a "difficult feeling" to manage the disappointment from losing a World Cup semi-final, but his team needed to "regroup, recover" and try to finish third in the tournament.
That would still be a big achievement for Belgium, who's best result was finishing fourth in the 1986 FIFA World Cup.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off on June 14 and will continue until July 15, with the final set to be held at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Sunday.