France 1 – 0 Belgium

Good game, good game
Bruce Forsyth

Before we get into the game, it has come to my attention courtesy of reader Dave Marriott that many of our number are watching the games at some ungodly hour, bleary eyed and duvet bound. It is then, for you guys – you heroes – that I bring you a short guide to beer for breakfast – the most important meal of the day.

Coffee stout: a rich caffeine kick to get you out of bed. Not one for the tea drinkers, but pairs well with bacon, sausage and beans.

Bacon porter: With maple syrup, coffee and bacon thrown into the mix, you can even find a porter that’s been aged in bourbon barrels to make those salty top notes really sing. Pairs well with pancakes.

Bagel lager: Doesn’t sound like it should be a thing – is actually a thing though. Bagels, barley and rye malt combining to make a slightly sweet lager with a dark colouring and a hint of cinnamon. Pairs well with another glass of lager.

Hope that was helpful, consider it a public service announcement of sorts.

And so to the game…  

After some very so-so form early in the tournament, France have now found some consistency. That’s a worry for Croatia and England, but they’re still definitely beatable. That’s my line and I’m sticking to it.

So forget Samuel Umtiti beating Marouane Fellaini to Griezmann’s cross to head France’s goal past Courtois. Forget Mbappe’s delightful drag back to Giroud. Forget the discipline and the counter attacking nous. Forget Griezmann, who had possibly his game of the tournament so far, and forget the fact that even Eden Hazard looked knackered by the end.

Belgium threatened occasionally and there were a couple of heart-in-mouth moments late on, but it was going to take more than workrate and running to break France down. With Hazard and De Bruyne fading in the dying embers of the game an equalizer looked unlikely and, one suspects, would simply have postponed the inevitable.

Even the combined will of England and Croatia who surely will have been praying for an energy sapping run of extra time followed by a lackluster series of penalties, couldn’t help Brussels find the muscles.

France will fancy their chances after this, no matter the result tonight.