France labour to late win over Belgium to reach last eight

skysports france randal kolo 6596294

France left it late as they laboured to a 1-0 victory against Belgium to book their place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2024.

With the game heading for extra-time, Randel Kolo Muani was France’s hero as his 85th minute strike deflected off defender Jan Vertonghen and past goalkeeper Koen Casteels to seal victory.

France controlled possession for much of the contest and went closest to breaking the deadlock either side of half-time through Marcus Thuram and Aurelien Tchouameni, while Kylian Mbappe also threatened with some dazzling footwork – but his finishing was off colour as France struggled to test Casteels.

Belgium could have won the game themselves late on with Romelu Lukaku and Kevin De Bruyne both forcing good saves from goalkeeper Mike Maignan, before the scruffy decisive moment sent France through to the next stage.

Didier Deschamps’ side will meet the winner of Monday evening’s match between Portugal and Slovenia in the quarter-finals in Hamburg on Friday (kick-off 8pm).

Neville: Vertonghen will be devastated by big mistake

Sky Sports’ Gary Neville speaking on ITV about France’s late winner and Vertonghen’s involvement:

“I think Vertonghen will be really disappointed [with the goal], and not just because it gets credited to him as an own goal.

“He has got to shift up. Kolo Muani doesn’t do anything amazing. He’s a little bit scruffy on the turn.

“But he’s got to shift up. Once you’re one or two yards off, that’s not unlucky, it falls into the category of poor defending and he knows that, he’s an experienced player.

“I’ve been there. I would class that from a defender with big experience as a big mistake. He’ll recognise that. He’ll be devastated because what he’ll also be thinking is ‘will it be the last time I’m here?’ That’s where it really hits home for players.

Stats: Story of the match

Who plays who in the quarter-finals?

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