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Superb defense takes France 1 game away from World Cup glory

Updated: 2018-07-11 07:17
France's Hugo Lloris makes a save. [Photo/Agencies]

But like Mbappe, he took a back seat against the Belgians as Lloris and his defense starred at St. Petersburg Stadium.

Varane made decisive headers to cut out dangerous crosses and corners and read to perfection almost every run from striker Romelu Lukaku and the fleet-footed forward Eden Hazard. He also compensated for the times when right back Benjamin Pavard was caught out of position, particularly by Hazard, when Belgium dominated the opening 20 minutes.

When France's defense was breached, the agile Lloris was on hand to make decisive saves — just like against Uruguay. He made a superb, leaping stop to his right to palm away a sudden, close-in strike from Toby Alderweireld in the 22nd minute that would have gone inside the left post.

Belgium's Toby Alderweireld shoots at goal. [Photo/Agencies]

Midway through the second half, Lloris was there again, springing off his line to punch away a dangerous right-wing cross from Belgium substitute Dries Mertens.

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