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France 1-0 Belgium: Euro 2024 last 16 – as it happened | Euro 2024

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France 1-0 Belgium: Euro 2024 last 16 – as it happened | Euro 2024


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Want some more football? Of course you do.

“France are in the quarter-finals thanks to two own goals and a penalty. It’s one thing to grow into a tournament, and then there’s whatever this is,” says Kári Tulinius.

They’re smarter than us.

“France must be doing something to earn favour from the own goal gods,” says Peter Oh.

It’s a cunning plan.

Post-match reaction: Will Unwin is here to bring you the post -match reaction, as I have to go and record the Guardian Football Weekly podcast. Thanks for your time and I’m sorry I couldn’t deliver a better match.

Full time: France 1-0 Belgium

Jan Vertonghen unwittingly kneed a scuffed Randal Kolo Muani shot past his own hopelessly wrongfooted goalkeeper with just four minutes left on the clock to send France into the last eight of the competition. And truth be told, it was that kind of game.

90+4 min: It’s all over and please join me in prayer so we can all thank whatever deity is in your particular corner for that. France go through to the quarter-finals courtesy of a scrappy own goal befitting a scrappy game.

90+3 min: Kevin De Bruyne’s corner is cleared by France. Wout Faes gets the ball launched into the mixer from deep. Griezmann clears.

90+2 min: We’re well into three minutes of added time as Belgium search for an equaliser. Doku scurries through the left side of the penalty area and has a shot blocked. Corner!!!

89 min: The goal is being attributed to Vertonghen, who’ll be delighted, no doubt. It was N’Golo Kante who slipped the ball to Muani, whose mis-kick could see France into the quarter-finals. I won’t lie – even though I drew Belgium in the pub sweepstake and there’s over £100 up for grabs, I’ll be mightily fed up if they get an equaliser. That’s how dire this game has been.

87 min: France lead courtesy of a goal befitting the game. They were speculatively playing the ball back and forth across the pitch just outside the Belgium penalty area and it found its way to Muani. His shot was not clean but had enough pace on it to go in after taking a wicked deflection off Vertonghen that left Casteels with no chance.

France’s Randal Kolo Muani scuffed shot clanks against the knee of Belgium’s Jan Vertonghen … Photograph: Leon Kuegeler/Reuters
And wrongfoots Belgium keeper Koen Casteels. Photograph: Christopher Neundorf/EPA
The French players and fans don’t care how the ball found its way into the net, they’re just glad to have the lead. Photograph: Clive Mason/Getty Images
France’s Randal Kolo Muani celebrates after his deflected shot gave his side the lead against Belgium. Photograph: Carmen Jaspersen/Reuters
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GOAL! France 1-0 Belgium (Vertonghen OG 85)

France are in front! Randal Kolo Muani’s scuffed shot is deflected past the wrongfooted Koen Casteels.

A gleeful Antoine Griezmann celebrates after a shot by Randal Kolo Muani is deflected into the net to give France the lead. Photograph: Bernadett Szabó/Reuters
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83 min: Kevin De Bruyne has his head in his hands. Why? He’s just had a low, rasping shot from just outside the France penalty area saved by Maignan after good work down the left by Doku and Lukaku.

Kevin De Bruyne rues his miss. Photograph: Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters
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81 min: “If this is level at 90 minutes, can we organise some kind of emergency diktat to stop it going to extra time,” asks Harry Smart. “I don’t personally care if they go straight to penalties or settle it with a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors, but I can’t take any more of this.”

78 min: This game is there to be won but both teams are focussing most of their energy on not losing. But what’s this? Mbappe runs on to a Kounde pass across the face of the Belgium penalty area and shoots high over the bar. Kounde was trying to pick out Griezmann and Mbappe might have been served keeping his broken nose out of proceedings and leaving the Atletico Madrid man to it.

75 min: “You have a great job getting paid to watch the Euros,” writes Debra. “Is the game so dire? Or are you just a miserabilist? Or a fan of England?”

I’m just calling it as I see it, Debs. And as an Irishman I can assure you the scars of last night’s trauma inflicted upon me by Jude Bellingham will never heal.

74 min: France corner. Griezmann’s delivery to the near post is cleared by the first man. France recycle the ball, Saliba cuts inside Doku from the right side of the penalty area and shoots wide.

72 min: Kante sends Muani on his way upfield with a lovely reverse pass near the halfway line but the substitute’s first touch is as deft as a street-mugger’s and Belgium get the ball back cheaply.

70 min: Belgium chance! Mangala drives through the left side of the France box and is picked out by Kevin De Bruyne, who spots his run. He pulls the ball back to Lukaku, whose low shot is well saved by Maignan. It’s a let-off for France.

France’s Mike Maignan thwarts Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku. Photograph: Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters
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70 min: “Kante can’t be a G-Wagon; that’s a Benz,” writes Joe Pearson. “Maybe a Peugeot 5008?”

69 min: France get the ball back and Tchouameni fires another shot from distance high over the bar.

66 min: Belgium have the ball in their own half and seem determined to keep it there. Faes plays it to Onana who plays it to Castagne who plays it to Onana who plays it to Faes who plays it to Vertonghen who plays it to Theate who plays it to Casteels who plays it to Castagne etc, and so on. Rinse and repeat.

63 min: A couple of changes. Randal Kolo Muani is on for France, replacing the ineffective Marcus Thuram. Belgium bring on Orel Mangala to play alongside Amadou Onana in midfield and allow Kevin De Bruyne to play further up the pitch. Lois Openda makes way.

62 min: Kevin De Bruyne slips Yannick Carrasco in behind the France defence and he’s through on goal down the inside right. Theo Hernandez gets back to slide in and block his shot brilliantly. That was big chance for Belgium but their winger didn’t shoot quickly enough.

60 min: For the first time in this game, the hideous possibility of extra-time crosses my mind. Urgh …

58 min: Belgium’s manager is furious with the match officials, who have just let two blatant fouls on Jeremy Doku in quick succession by Jules Kounde and the G-Wagon/Transit van go unpunished.

58 min: Wout Faes blocks a low Kounde cross into the Belgium penalty area.

56 min: Mbappe makes a great diagonal run towards a low Kounde cross from the right and tries to steer his shot across the face of goal and into the far corner. Wide. The idea was great but the execution left a lot to be desired.

53 min: The second half has very much picked up where the first left off, with France in the ascendency but in dire need of some cutting edge. A case in point: Mbappe darts along the edge of the penalty area, cutting in from the left and then fires high over the bar. He’d given Kevin de Bruyne the slip, with the Belgium skipper unable to risk fouling him for fear of giving away a penalty.

49 min: Aurelien Tchouameni tries his luck from distance and his shot takes a nick off a defender. Koen Casteels gets down low to his left to bat it out for a corner. France subsequently win a free-kick, wide on the left. The ball’s sent in to the mixer, half-cleared and the ball drops nicely for Kounde. His floated delivery into the box is good and Thuram heads over from seven or eight yards. Not good enough, Marcus.

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48 min: France pass the ball around at the back with Lois Openda scurrying from one defender to the next, to no great effect.

46 min: “I’m not surprised that neither manager has made any changes at all because bizarrely, they’ll both be happy with how that first half went,” says Coisty on ITV co-comms. “It’ll be interesting to see which coach makes a change to actually try to go and win the game, rather than not lose it.”

Wise words, spoken in a lovely Scottish burr.

Second half: France 0-0 Belgium

46 min: Fasten your seatbelts, we go again. Amadou Onana and Kevin De Bruyne get the ball rolling and there are no changes in personnel on either side that I am aware of.

An email: “Kante a Transit?” writes Chris Ross. “The man’s a G Wagon. Peace and love.”

An email: “This is a typical Euro 2024 game: utterly pedestrian,” writes Kev McReady. “Incidentally, isn’t it funny the best player at this tournament is Kante? Like a Transit van winning a Grand Prix.”

While I wouldn’t necessarily agree that it’s typical of the tournament, many of the supposedly great teams have been dire. There have been plenty of terrific games in this tournament, many of them featuring Georgia.

Half-time: France 0-0 Belgium

It’s 45 minutes none of us will ever get back and France are in the ascendency but lacking that cutting edge that might have helped them take the lead they probably just about deserve. Belgium have shown signs of life but their head coach Domenico Tedesco Kevin de Bruyne has important work to do in the dressing-room over the next 15 minutes.

45+1 min: Good work by Mbappe, who scurries and ferrets along the byline before pulling the ball back to Tchouameni in a good shooting position. He blazes the ball high over the bar because of course he does. It’s half-time.

44 min: I’ve just been alerted to the fact that the name in the byline of this article was incorrect and has been fixed. Please feel free to direct your ire to Barry Glendenning, for it is me who has been tasked with reporting on this nothingness. Taha Hashim is completely innocent and France have a corner. Jan Vertonghen clears.

42 min: Mbappe plays the ball wide to Kounde on the right. He plays it back inside to Griezmann, who plays it out wide to Hernandez on the other side via Mbappe. For the love of God …

38 min: A Tchouameni dink into the Belgium penalty area is headed clear by Wout Faes as France continue to press and probe. I suppose if anything, this game is like a big steaming tur… chess match.

37 min: A quick switch of play from France. Jules Kounde’s cross is excellent but Marcus Thuram can’t steer his header on target. He should have done better.



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