Theo Hernández scores in the last minute, putting France into the Nations League final
France 3-2 Belgium
It was Belgium who looked destined for Sunday’s showpiece based on their first-half performance. Yannick Carrasco fired Belgium ahead in the 37th minute and only three minutes later, Romelu Lukaku doubled the lead with a superbly taken goal. After that time, it was a thundering strike that set the tone for an outstanding clash between two European superpowers.
Les Bleus responded to their first-half setback in an outstanding fashion. Although Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann both passed up their chances to give the team a foothold at the beginning of the second half, Karim Benzema then made no such mistake when he turned nimbly inside the penalty area and perfectly finished with a goal in the 62nd minute. Some minutes later, Kylian Mbappe took a penalty to equalize the score with Belgium, slotting after Youri Tielemans had brought down Antoine Griezmann in the box.
De Bruyne and Pogba both went close to scoring another goal before Lukaku thought he had done so after a lightning counterattack. However, the goal of Chelsea’s most expensive striker was ruled out for offside. Paul Pogba then struck the bar with a free-kick but there was time for more drama. France launched a sweeping counter-attack and the ball found its way to defender Theo Hernandez on the verge of the penalty area. He steadied himself with one touch before firing into the corner to complete a surprising turnaround in the 90th minute.
Some more minutes in the extra time could not be enough for the Belgian men to change the score one more time. The final result was 3-2 for Les Bleus. The defending World Champions officially became the other piece to enter the Nations League final, competing against Spain on Sunday.
Belgium 2-3 France
After the match
This was really a surprising ending for both teams. Initially, Belgium were considered the stronger team and they also played gorgeously in the first half. However, everything turned upside down after the break time. France rose impressively and lead the score afterward.
Belgium vs France
France manager Didier Deschamps happily shared: “Winning the match in that way shows the strength of characters of the whole team. The players never give in. We came here to play in the final, we're in it and the trophy will be at stake. We will do everything we can in order to lift it." On the other hand, Belgium coach Roberto Martínez showed a bit of disappointment: “In the second half, we were a little too emotional- perhaps we were thinking too much about the final, about qualifying.”
Kylian Mbappe was appraised as the Player of the Match. He ran the show for France, creating the first and scoring the second as quickly as he always. He made a lot of differences to help Les Bleus to enter the final.
Whereas, the decisive goal of Theo Hernández accompanied by his impressive performance in the game also made him become one of the best players of the match. The AC Milan’s left-back has scored up to 14 goals in 73 games for the Italian club and now having made his first goal for the national team right in the first year playing for the professional France national team.
This is also the match marking the combination of the Hernandez brothers (Lucas and Theo) to the France team. They are the first brothers to represent Les Bleus together since the Revellis’ in 1974.
Theo Hernández scores in the last minute