A 1-0 win was enough to see Benjamin Pavard and his French national team colleagues surpass Belgium in the World Cup semi-finals. The 22-year-old was again in the starting eleven for the fifth of France’s six games and the right full-back was in action over the full distance for coach Didier Deschamps' side.
Early on it was Belgium that controlled proceedings, having the first sight of goal with a double-chance for Eden Hazard in the 16th and 19th minutes. In the 22nd minute, Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld forced a good save from French keeper Hugo Lloris, with a well struck shot on the turn. As the game progressed though, the 'Equipe Tricolore' began to press forward more convincingly.
Possession and passes – and almost his second goal
On the half-hour mark, Antoine Griezmann sprayed the ball to Benjamin Pavard. The VfB defender’s delivery from the right found the head of Olivier Giroud, who flicked his effort just wide of the right post. In the 39th minute, Benjamin Pavard had the best chance of the game for France to that point. Taking on a pass from Kylian Mbappé, the full-back looked to chip the ball home from a tight angle, but Belgian keeper Thibaut Courtois denied the VfB man a second goal in five games, turning the ball away with his heel. Throughout the first-half, Benjamin Pavard was the French player in mort regular possession of the ball.
The two sides clashed at eye-level for much of the game and went into the half-time break locked at 0-0. Meeting an Antoine Griezmann corner delivery, Samuel Umtiti darted in at the front post, beating Marouane Fellaini in the air, to flick home a header and make it 1-0 for France in the 51st minute. The ‘Red Devils’ duly pressed in search of an equalizer, but could find no chinks in the rugged "Les Bleus" chain – with the well-drilled and solid French back-line proving ultimately unbreachable.