MX23RW : Saturday, February 16 06:13:16

Didier Deschamps hails "exceptional" France win over Belgium at World Cup

Deschamps hails
© Reuters
Didier Deschamps is pleased with the character of his France team following their 1-0 win over Belgium on Tuesday which sealed a spot in the 2018 World Cup final.

Didier Deschamps has hailed his France players after they battled to an "exceptional" 1-0 win over Belgium for a place in the World Cup final.

Samuel Umtiti's 51st-minute header was enough to propel Les Bleus into their third final appearance since 1998 for a chance to add to their solitary trophy, which was won on home soil 20 years ago.

France withstood nine shots from their European neighbours as Hugo Lloris kept a clean sheet, and Deschamps credited his side's effort at the back.

"It was exceptional," the 49-year-old told reporters. "I'm very happy for my players, we showed character and the right mentality, it was very hard for us tonight. We worked hard defensively.

"We had to take advantage a bit more in the counterattacks, but congratulations to my players and my staff. I feel very proud for my group."

Deschamps is aiming to join Germany's Franz Beckenbauer and Brazil's Mario Zagallo as the only men to have won the World Cup as both a player and a manager.


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The France team line up ahead of their friendly game with the Republic of Ireland on May 28, 2018
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