France fight back to beat Belgium and reach Nations League final against Spain

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France came from 2-0 down on Thursday night to beat Belgium 3-2 and advance to the final of the Nations League after a pulsating match at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.

Yannick Carrasco opened the scoring in the 37th minute following sustained pressure from the Belgians.

After collecting Kevin De Bruyne's pass in the penalty area, the Atletico Madrid striker foxed defender Benjamin Pavard and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris by shaping to shoot towards the left hand corner of the goal. Instead, he slotted the ball in on the right hand side.

A seventh international goal of rare impudence.

Tricks

Before France could recover from such trickery it was 2-0 after a slick piece of play from striker Romelu Lukaku.

The Chelsea forward allowed De Bruyne's through ball to run past him. A flummoxed Lucas Hernandez was half a metre behind the forward when he accelerated to catch the ball and thrash it high into the right hand side of Lloris's net.

It was the a record-extending 68th international goal for for the 28-year-old.

France's task in the second-half was simple: limit the damage or stage a comeback. Didier Deschamps' men opted for the latter.

Return

Antoine Griezmann came close to halving the deficit 13 minutes into the second-half but he stabbed the ball wide of Thibaut Courtois' goal.

Karim Benzema was more precise four minutes later though. And France drew level in the 69th minute.

Youri Tielemans felled Griezmann in the penalty area and after referee Daniel Siebert checked with the video assistants, Kylian Mbappé lashed in the spot kick.

Lukaku thought he had won the match for Belgium when he converted Carrasco's cross from the left. But he was ruled off side.

Théo Hernandez was more fortunate as the game entered stoppage time.

He picked up the ball on the left of the Belgium penalty area and atoned for his brother's earlier defensive error with a fierce left-footed drive past Courtois. His first international goal was celebrated with relish.

"We went and looked for the match after half-time," Griezmann told French broadcaster TF1. "We've got a good group and we knew that a goal could change things. It was an extraordinary game."

France will play Spain on Sunday in the final at the San Siro in Milan seeking to add another international title to their 2018 World Cup triumph.

Spain, who beat the European champions Italy 2-1 on Wednesday in Milan, last lifted silverware at the 2012 European championships.

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