France manager Didier Deschamps has hailed his players after they battled to a 1-0 win over Belgium for a place in the World Cup final.
Samuel Umtiti‘s 51st-minute header was enough to propel France 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.”