Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Muani’s late goal helps France beat Belgium 1-0, reach quarterfinals

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Gelsenkirchen, July 1: Kylian Mbappé and France advanced to the European Championship quarterfinals after Randal Kolo Muani’s deflected shot secured a 1-0 win over Belgium on Monday.
Kolo Muani sent in an effort in the 85th minute that looped up off Belgium defender Jan Vertonghen and over stranded goalkeeper Koen Casteels.
France had missed several chances before that as once again their lack of a cutting edge let them down.
Belgium could even have taken the lead themselves before France’s late goal as Manchester City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne charged into space through the middle, but his shot was pushed behind by French goalkeeper Mike Maignan. That had been the below-par Belgians only decent opportunity as France closed out the final few minutes to progress to the last eight.
France will play Portugal or Slovenia in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Mbappé, again wearing a mask to protect his broken nose, had five shots but none were on target in a low-quality match between the teams ranked No. 2 (France) and No. 3 (Belgium) who largely cancelled each other out.
Add a fortunate deflected shot to an own-goal and a penalty — scored by Mbappé — as France’s only goals at Euro 2024.
It will do little to stop the growing dissent of France’s fans who feel more can come from a talented bunch of players headlined by Mbappé, playing on the day he officially became a Real Madrid player.
Mbappé will be playing in his first ever quarterfinal at the European Championship, with France having lost on a penalty shootout to Switzerland in the last 16 at the last tournament in 2021. (Agencies)

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