Belgium 2-3 France LIVE! Theo Hernandez goal - Nations League result, match stream and latest updates today

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·20-min read
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 (Getty Images)
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Belgium vs France - LIVE!

France teed up a heavyweight showdown with Spain in the 2021 Nations League final in Milan on Sunday night.

Didier Deschamps’ reigning world champions produced an epic fightback to down neighbours Belgium in a remakable last-four tie in Turin.

Theo Hernandez struck in stoppage time of a high-profile contest to complete France’s second-half comeback after Kylian Mbappe had hit an emphatic penalty following Karim Benzema’s initial effort.

Belgium had led 2-0 at the interval after a quick-fire double from Yannick Carrasco and Romelu Lukaku, with the Chelsea striker also seeing a late effort ruled out for offside.

Spain ended European champions Italy’s record 37-match unbeaten streak last night to seal their final spot courtesy of a brace from Ferran Torres.

While La Roja and France will now lock horns in Sunday’s final, Belgium and Italy meet in the third-place play-off, having also squared off in the Euro 2020 quarter-finals in Munich over the summer.

Follow Belgium vs France reaction with Standard Sport’s LIVE blog below!

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Belgium vs France highlights

  • GOAL! Theo Hernandez completes epic comeback in stoppage time

  • GOA... NO! Lukaku sees second goal ruled out for offside

  • GOAL! Mbappe scores penalty after Griezmann fouled

  • GOAL! Benzema puts Les Bleus back in tie

  • GOAL! Lukaku smashes home quick-fire second

  • GOAL! Carrasco fires Belgium in front

Didier Deschamps reaction

22:29 , George Flood

“We were unlucky in the first half. We sat back a little too much,” said France manager Didier Deschamps.

“They had a good period for 20 minutes but after that we were not in danger and had a lot of chances.

“The result shows the character of the team. We were here to play the final and here we are.”

Griezmann delight

22:18 , George Flood

What a day for Theo Hernandez

22:16 , George Flood

Belgium fall short again

22:02 , George Flood

FT: Belgium 2-3 France

21:40 , George Flood

Absolutely extraordinary.

What drama these Nations League semi-finals have provided.

France will face Spain in Sunday night’s final in Milan.

Just remarkable. Belgium will have to dust themselves down for a third-place play-off against Italy.

GOAL! France 3-2 Belgium | Theo Hernandez 91'

21:34 , George Flood

91 mins: Have I said what a great game this is?!

Into four minutes of added time and Theo Hernandez sets himself with a touch and rifles a shot in off the hand of Courtois after Pavard’s cross is not dealt with after he had bombed on beyond Griezmann.

Now is THAT the winning goal?!

21:32 , George Flood

90 mins: So, so close for France now!

It’s an absolutely superb free-kick from Pogba, who agonisingly hits the crossbar.

I’ve said this already, but WHAT A GAME THIS IS.

Goaa.... no!

21:31 , George Flood

87 mins: Carrasco gets beyond Pavard down that Belgium left much too easily and plays a fine low cross for Lukaku, who gets the right side of Lucas Hernandez and side-foots beyond Lloris.

Belgium celebrate what they think is likely the winning goal, but hang on a second!

The offside flag is up - it won’t count! Replays show Lukaku was just ahead of Hernandez when that ball came in.

France breathe a sigh of relief.

21:29 , George Flood

85 mins: Absolute quality from France, with the ever-lively Mbappe linking up beautifully with Pogba and then Benzema before curling a shot narrowly wide of Courtois’ right-hand post.

21:27 , George Flood

83 mins: Into the final 10 minutes in Turin.

France still on top but this is still anyone’s game.

Will we see another late twist in the tale or does extra time beckon?

21:23 , George Flood

79 mins: Griezmann tries his luck again but hits over the bar.

France have been so impressive in this second half.

You can’t take your eyes off this game for a second.

Puts you in mind of the Liverpool-Manchester City draw at Anfield last weekend.

21:20 , George Flood

76 mins: Good grief what a game this is now!

France have sent on Tchouameni for Rabiot.

Tchouameni is then denied by a diving Courtois after an initial shot is blocked.

At the other end, Lukaku blasts over but the offside flag was up.

21:18 , George Flood

74 mins: Vertonghen’s header from the subsequent corner ends up on the roof of the net.

Vanaken replaced Tielemans after the Leicester man conceded that penalty.

Brighton’s Trossard has also come on for Hazard.

21:16 , George Flood

73 mins: It’s been all resurgent France in this second half, but suddenly Belgium spring back into life and Lloris makes a fingertip save to push a vicious strike from De Bruyne over the top.

GOAL! Belgium 2-2 France | Kylian Mbappe 70'

21:12 , George Flood

70 mins: The towering Courtois guesses the right way but that is absolutely emphatic from Mbappe, who thunders home.

What a comeback from France. All square again in Turin!

Penalty to France

21:11 , George Flood

68 mins: It was a very melodramatic reaction from Griezmann, but no doubt at all he was fouled.

VAR advise that referee Siebert goes to check the pitchside monitor and he then points to the spot.

Mbappe to equalise for France...

21:09 , George Flood

66 mins: A VAR check for a penalty now as France continue to pour forward and Griezmann has his foot clipped by Tielemans inside the box.

This seems very likely to be given. Vertonghen has been booked during the arguments.

21:09 , George Flood

65 mins: France are swarming all over Belgium here, with Griezmann, Pogba, Mbappe and Benzema all threatening.

GOAL! Belgium 2-1 France | Karim Benzema 62'

21:04 , George Flood

62 mins: Game on!

Belgium’s defenders swarm all over Mbappe and Benzema, but they still manage to combine inside the box and the latter ends up expertly digging out a low shot into the bottom corner after somehow creating the space among four or five red shirts.

France are all over their neighbours now.

21:03 , George Flood

60 mins: France having much more joy now, but an overhit cross flies over the head of Pavard, who was offside anyway.

21:01 , George Flood

57 mins: What a chance for France!

It’s magic from Mbappe as he beats his man all ends up and then provides a low cross from the byline for Griezmann.

However, the ball deflects off Vertonghen and Griezmann rather stands on it with one foot and can only divert it wide awkwardly with the other.

That was such a big opportunity to reduce the deficit with over 30 minutes of the 90 still to play.

20:58 , George Flood

54 mins: Solid defending from Sevilla’s Kounde, whom Chelsea tried to sign over the summer, as he stands up to the threat of Carrasco with a well-timed challenge.

Griezmann frustrated a few moments earlier after giving away a foul on Hazard inside the Belgium box.

20:55 , George Flood

51 mins: Such an open feel to this game now as Pogba - who is taken out by Witsel - floats a ball into Griezmann, who chests it down for Benzema.

The offside flag is raised as Vertonghen commits to a sliding challenge on the Real Madrid man.

VAR are checking that poor challenge from Witsel on Pogba, but we don’t come back for a free-kick.

No card.

20:53 , George Flood

50 mins: Early second-half chances at both ends, with Pogba’s header from a free-kick flying over and Lukaku then scuffing a volley into the arms of Lloris.

Plenty more goals in this one you feel!

20:51 , George Flood

47 mins: Belgium content to play their way out once more but De Bruyne’s flick inside intended for Witsel does not come off.

The ball is given away cheaply and Pogba strives forward before sending a warning shot whistling wide of the far post.

Second half

20:48 , George Flood

We are back underway in Turin.

Can France mount a comeback here or are Belgium cruising into a Nations League final showdown with Spain on Sunday night?

No changes from either manager at the break.

20:45 , George Flood

Half-time: Belgium 2-0 France

20:31 , George Flood

45 mins: Just the one minute of added time signalled at the end of this first half.

It quickly passes without incident.

A quick-fire double from Carrasco and Lukaku has Belgium in control of this second Nations League semi-final.

20:31 , George Flood

44 mins: France just cannot live with Lukaku here as he holds the ball up perfectly and provides the lay-off for a Hazard shot that is well held by Lloris.

But Les Bleus try to muster a bit of fight before the interval, with Mbappe shooting into the side netting after a fast break.

GOAL! Belgium 2-0 France | Romelu Lukaku 40'

20:27 , George Flood

40 mins: It’s two!

Lukaku steps over a fine, perfectly-weighted low pass from De Bruyne and easily runs away from Lucas Hernandez before absolutely smashing an effort with his weaker foot beyond Lloris at the front post and into the roof of the net.

That was not an easy angle at all.

Brilliant from Chelsea’s record signing and suddenly Belgium are in complete control.

GOAL! Belgium 1-0 France | Yannick Carrasco 37'

20:22 , George Flood

37 mins: Deadlock broken!

Carrasco cuts inside Pavard after a period of Belgian pressure and then deceives a stationary Lloris by pulling a shot to the near post.

It goes through a couple of French defenders before nestling in the back of the net.

The no1-ranked team strike first against the world champions!

20:22 , George Flood

33 mins: Replays show the ball did hit the hand of Denayer inside the box a couple of minutes ago, but that was never a penalty.

We’ve slipped back into a familiar rhythm in this game, with defences on top.

20:18 , George Flood

31 mins: Now France’s appeals for handball are waved away by German referee Daniel Siebert after a stumbling Denayer dispossesses Mbappe just outside the Belgium box.

This game is livening up again after a lull.

20:16 , George Flood

30 mins: Belgium’s fans scream in vain for a penalty after what looked like a superb last-ditch challenge from Kounde to prevent Hazard from giving Roberto Martinez’s side the lead from close range.

A super, super tackle.

20:13 , George Flood

27 mins: A Belgian attack breaks down and Witsel is caught on the ball by a solid Benzema challenge.

Mbappe has Alderweireld beaten all ends up for pace, but his cross is blocked behind by Denayer.

20:12 , George Flood

24 mins: Both sides enjoying good spells of possession here, but then struggling to break the other down.

Belgium’s attempt to play out from the back and beat this high French press results in them giving the ball away in dangerous territory, but they recover quickly enough.

20:09 , George Flood

22 mins: A sight of goal for France as Benzema finds Griezmann, who flicks inside to Mbappe.

But it’s not a clean connection on the finish and Courtois holds.

20:08 , George Flood

21 mins: Hazard is playing more centrally now, drifting in and linking the play for Belgium, buzzing around and providing a real menace.

He finds Lukaku, who gets away from one French centre-back in Varane before his low drive is blocked from close range by the other, Varane.

20:06 , George Flood

19 mins: France exercising more patience here as they monopolise possession and wait for an opening to materialise.

But Belgium’s defensive shape is strong and they don’t need a second invitation to spring forward, with Eden Hazard chopped down.

20:03 , George Flood

16 mins: De Bruyne slices a volley well wide before Lucas Hernandez battles determinedly against Castagne, eventually earning France a free-kick.

It’s a surprise to no one, but Mbappe looking really sharp so far tonight.

20:00 , George Flood

13 mins: A crucial defensive header from Vertonghen to stop Mbappe collecting Pogba’s searching pass over the top.

Quarterback Pogba then looks to release Benzema in a similar fashion, with Denayer making the block.

The offside flag is then raised against the Real Madrid frontman.

19:58 , George Flood

11 mins: More nifty passing from the stylish Belgians in midfield, but no chance that long-range drive from Tielemans was ever troubling Lloris.

High and wide.

19:57 , George Flood

9 mins: This is a fascinating contest so far, with both teams obviously possessing so much attacking quality and firepower.

De Bruyne and Lukaku combine once more before the former’s effort is diverted behind by Lucas Hernandez.

19:54 , George Flood

7 mins: Plenty of action early on here as De Bruyne and Lukaku just can’t link up after another dangerous Belgium counter.

At the other end, Carrasco is caught the wrong side of Pavard, who does well to turn Mbappe’s lofted cross goal-bound.

It’s a comfortable save for Courtois in the end.

19:52 , George Flood

5 mins: Leicester’s Castagne flies in on Mbappe and is very fortunate not to receive the first yellow card of the evening.

France then surge into the box, with Griezmann and Mbappe combining wonderfully, the latter breezing past Denayer before essentially running out of pitch as he tries to back-heel it into the six-yard box and Denayer can clear.

19:49 , George Flood

3 mins: France - decked out all in white this evening - are having plenty of the ball early on and probing patiently in search of an opening.

But Belgium counter with pace and purpose and that is a sublime one-handed stop from Lloris to deny De Bruyne after Kounde had completely failed to clear a low cross from the byline.

What a save. Wow. The Tottenham captain somehow diverts it wide.


19:46 , George Flood

Neither anthem particularly well-respected it didn’t appear. A crackling atmosphere pre-match.

Here comes that little car again, carrying the match ball. Are we still going with that?!

Both sets of players take the knee and we are off and running in this heavyweight, star-studded clash.

Who will join Spain in Sunday night’s Nations League final?

19:40 , George Flood

Here come the teams in Turin!

The national anthems will be up shortly, with La Marseillaise to be followed by Belgium’s La Brabanconne.

Final preparations in Turin

19:36 , George Flood

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)
 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Praise for France’s ‘expressive leader’ Pogba

19:24 , George Flood

Paul Pogba returns to his former home in Turin tonight and his considerable influence and leadership for France has been praised by both Deschamps and Raphel Varane ahead of the meeting with Belgium.

“He brings his enthusiasm, his dynamism, his good humour,” said Manchester United and Les Bleus team-mate Varane.

“He’s got this positive energy and this experience of the highest level that he passes on. Him and me we’re not the oldest ones but not the youngest ones either so we create the link between the generations.

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

“Paul brings his leadership, he knows how to motivate and re-mobilise the squad. He also puts the team ahead of everything, that’s one of his strengths, which he passes on to the young generation.”

Deschamps said: "There is the player he is and what he is capable of doing. Yes, he has become more important than when he started. He is there and is one of the leaders of the French team.

"He is an expressive leader who is between generations. He can act as a relay. He has this capacity to always have this notion and this collective reflection towards his situation."

19:20 , George Flood

The Nations League trophy sits pitchside at the Allianz Stadium...

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

De Bruyne regrets painkilling injections at Euros

19:09 , George Flood

It was a difficult summer for De Bruyne, who missed the start of Euro 2020 with fractures of his eye socket and nose suffered during Manchester City’s Champions League final defeat by Chelsea in Porto.

He later suffered an ankle injury in the last-16 win over Portugal and has since revealed his regret at receiving two painkilling injections that allowed him to start the quarter-final defeat against Italy.

“I came in with an injury to my eye socket and after three matches I left with an even more serious ankle injury," De Bruyne said of the Euros this week.

"I knew immediately that my ankle was bad after that tackle against Portugal.

"I played against Italy with two injections.

"If I had known beforehand what my ankle would have been like afterwards, I would not have played.”

De Bruyne back for Belgium

18:58 , George Flood

Kevin De Bruyne starts for Belgium, who, Manchester City star aside, revert back to the same XI that began the 3-0 World Cup qualifying victory over the Czech Republic in Brussels on September 5, having made several changes for the subsequent win over Belarus at the end of a triple-header.

Club Brugge midfielder Hans Vanaken makes way for De Bruyne, who plays internationally for the first time since that heartbreaking Euros quarter-final defeat by Italy in Munich.

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Three France changes

18:50 , George Flood

Kylian Mbappe is back in the France starting XI again as expected after missing the win over Finland, with Manchester United’s Anthony Martial making way.

There are also changes further back, with Kurt Zouma, Presnel Kimpembe and Leo Dubois replaced by Jules Kounde, Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard.

The Hernandez brothers are the first siblings to play for Les Bleus together since Patrick and Herve Revelli did so against Romania back in 1974.

“They have this family bond. This does not mean that it changes anything, but I will be dealing with two players who have this connection,” said Deschamps.

Belgium team

18:38 , George Flood

France team

18:37 , George Flood

Martinez: Belgium are stronger since 2018 World Cup semi-final

18:26 , George Flood

Speaking in the build-up to tonight’s high-profile semi-final, Roberto Martinez insisted that Belgium are now a better side than they were in 2018, when Samuel Umtiti’s towering header from Antoine Greizmann’s delivery sealed a 1-0 World Cup last-four win for eventual champions France in St Petersburg.

That was the last time these two neighbours clashed.

"I would like to believe that we are stronger, just because we have more players," Martinez said.

"When we need cover for suspensions or injured players out of the squad, I think the number of players available for Belgium now has grown."

He added: "It gives us a lot of synchronisation, something that you don’t get in international football. I think we always try to have a certain continuity with the selection players and try to work as you would in a club environment.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

"The understanding between the players is a lot bigger, and we've been through a lot together. So, in terms of experience and the pool of players. I believe that we are stronger than we were in 2018.

"We are a team that works hard to create chances. The French team is always very well drilled defensively, really well organised, and then you need to be always cautious because the moment that you lose the ball they've got a world-class attacking threat.

"This is a competition we want to be involved; it's not a friendly game with no significance. I think it's a very meaningful competition."

18:06 , George Flood

Whereas last night’s semi and the final itself are at Milan’s San Siro, tonight’s clash and Sunday’s third-place play-off take place at the Allianz Stadium in Turin - home of Serie A giants Juventus.

France’s finals squad

18:00 , George Flood

Goalkeepers: Benoît Costil (Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mike Maignan (AC Milan)

Defenders: Lucas Digne (Everton), Léo Dubois (Lyon), Lucas Hernández (Bayern), Theo Hernández (AC Milan), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris), Jules Koundé (Sevilla), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern), Raphaël Varane (Man. United)

Midfielders: Matteo Guendouzi (Marseille), Paul Pogba (Man. United), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurélien Tchouaméni (Monaco), Jordan Veretout (Roma)

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Moussa Diaby (Leverkusen), Antoine Griezmann (Atlético Madrid), Anthony Martial (Man. United), Kylian Mbappé (Paris)

Belgium’s finals squad

18:00 , George Flood

Goalkeepers: Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge)

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (al-Duhail), Dedryck Boyata (Hertha Berlin), Timothy Castagne (Leicester), Jason Denayer (Lyon), Thomas Meunier (Dortmund), Jan Vertonghen (Benfica)

Midfielders: Kevin De Bruyne (Man. City), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves), Thorgan Hazard (Dortmund), Alexis Saelemaekers (AC Milan), Youri Tielemans (Leicester), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Axel Witsel (Dortmund)

Forwards: Michy Batshuayi (Beşiktaş), Yannick Carrasco (Atlético Madrid), Charles De Ketelaere (Club Brugge), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Dodi Lukebakio (Wolfsburg), Leandro Trossard (Brighton)

Predicted lineups

17:59 , George Flood

Belgium (3-4-3): Courtois; Alderweireld, Denayer, Vertonghen; Castagne, Witsel, Tielemans, T Hazard; De Bruyne, Lukaku, E Hazard.

France (3-4-1-2): Lloris; Kounde, Varane, L. Hernandez; Pavard, Pogba, Rabiot, T. Hernandez; Griezmann; Mbappe, Benzema.

Early team news: Mbappe back for France

17:58 , George Flood

France coach Didier Deschamps is likely to opt for a repeat of the 3-4-1-2 formation that worked so well in last month’s 2-0 win over Finland.

Without the injured Kylian Mbappe that day, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema both dazzled in the system which allows Griezmann to shine from a central position.

Mbappe is back for France, who are likely to line up with brothers Lucas and Theo Hernandez.

For Belgium, Romelu Lukaku will lead the line flanked by Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne.

 (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
(POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

How to watch Belgium vs France

17:55 , George Flood

TV channel: Tonight’s contest will be televised live on Sky Sports Football, with coverage beginning at 7:30pm.

Live stream: Sky Sports subscribers will also be able to watch the match live online via the Sky Go app.

Welcome to Belgium vs France LIVE coverage

17:46 , George Flood

Good evening and welcome to Standard Sport’s latest LIVE coverage of the 2021 Nations League finals.

A place against Spain awaits in Sunday night’s showpiece as Belgium and France do battle in another heavyweight last-four contest in Turin.

Stay tuned for match build-up, latest team news and live updates after kick-off, which tonight is at 7:45pm BST.

You won’t want to miss this one!

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