Belgium paid the price for failing to take their chances against France but will now have to shake off their disappointment and focus on finishing third at the World Cup, their coach Roberto Martinez said after his team's defeat in the semi-final. But there haven't been one or two secrets to make it work, it's been common sense.
"What we didn't have was worldwide experience, the know-how of winning a World Cup, the know-how of being a footballer, how you are expected to perform in front of the world and knowing how you feel in those moments", the Spaniard said.
"It is something exceptional". His pace caused the Belgian back line worries all night and one moment of absolute genius when his quick feet and back heel sent Giroud through on goal, nearly lead to one of the goals of the tournament so far. "They are young but they have character, a (winning) mentality".
In search of the equalizer, Belgium repeatedly sent over crosses from both wings but Umtiti and Varane, both centre backs, used their bodies cleverly to hold off Fellaini and Lukaku. Giroud has not scored in eight games and is yet to even have a shot on target in Russian Federation. As long as I can help the team, it's all that matters to me.
Didier Deschamps' France side failed to fire in their group matches but burst into life in the 4-3 demolition of Argentina as Mbappe overshadowed Lionel Messi and confirmed his arrival as a new superstar of the game.More news: Judge cites 'real progress' in reuniting migrant families
"It was always going to come down to small margins, and the first goal was always going to be vital".
France are looking to reach their third World Cup final in the last 20 years, while Belgium are vying for their first-ever decisive match.
The Belgian team leads the tournament in goals with 14, while France has scored the least with 9. Griezmann shouted as Umtiti conducted his post-match interview.
The nearest Belgium came to a leveller was a header from Fellaini which flashed just wide and a fierce strike from distance by Axel Witsel which the impressive Lloris parried away.More news: Barcelona Confirm Paulinho Loan Deal To Guangzhou Evergrande
But for Courtois, France's margin of victory would have been even greater as he made saves from Griezmann and Corentin Tolisso in stoppage time.
Instead, it proved to be another false dawn as France march on to Moscow.More news: Federation Internationale de Football Association recognises World Cup fever in Bangladesh