FIFA World Cup 2018: We missed Euro title, so want this one, says Samuel Umtiti
Samuel Umtiti, who scored France's match-winner in semi-final v Belgium, says winning World Cup can erase memory of Euro '16 final loss to Portugal
Match-winner Samuel Umtiti is targeting World Cup glory as he attempts to erase the memory of his Euro 2016 heartache. The Barcelona defender headed France to a 1-0 semi-final victory over Belgium on Tuesday and into Sunday's showdown with a chance to make up for the bitter disappointment of a final defeat by Portugal two years ago.
Asked if he was a good luck charm after reaching that final, he said: "No, I'm not at all a good luck charm. We didn't win the Euros final, so that's why it's close to my heart now to reach this level at the World Cup. I hope it's going to be different this time, I hope we will able to bring the World Cup back to France."
51st minute: Umtiti heads the ball to score. Pic/Getty Images
Manager Didier Deschamps, who led the nation into that tournament, is bidding to become just the third man after Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer to win the World Cup as both player and coach, but is refusing to look back to his own triumph as a player in 1998. He said: "I never ever mention my own history. They know it. Some of them were not born, but they have seen pictures."
"You can't make comparisons. I can't talk to them about players from 20 years ago. I am here with them today to write a new page in history, the most beautiful page." Disappointed Belgium boss Roberto Martinez spoke of his pride at what his players had achieved in falling just short of their aim for the tournament. He said: "The disappointment is huge because the focus of the group was to try to win the tournament. It wasn't about having a good tournament, it wasn't about being happy to be in the top four, so it's a really sad dressing room right now because the opportunity of being in the final was the only focus that we had."
Umtiti celebrates with teammates Antoine Griezmann (left), Raphael Varane (second from right) and Paul Pogba. Pic/AP, PTI
No. of consecutive shots France ’keeper Hugo Lloris has saved at this World Cup
No. of finals France have reached in the last six World Cups (1998, 2006 & 2018)
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