France 1-0 Belgium: Own goal sends Les Bleus into quarter-finals

France 1-0 Belgium: Own goal sends Les Bleus into quarter-finals


It took a late Jan Vertonghen own goal to separate the teams as France edged past neighbours Belgium and into the last eight at EUR0 2024.

Randal Kolo Muani and Kylian Mbappé celebrate France's winning goal

France are through to the quarter-finals at UEFA EURO 2024 after a late Jan Vertonghen own goal decided a tense last-16 tie against neighbours Belgium in Düsseldorf.

Key moments

24': Maignan stops De Bruyne free-kick with feet

34': Thuram heads wide from Koundé cross

45+1': Tchouameni fires loose ball over

49': Casteels parries deflected Tchouameni strike

51': Thuram nods too high from close range

54': Mbappé directs shot over crossbar

71': Maignan keeps out fierce Lukaku effort

74': Saliba sends attempt just wide

83': Maignan repels De Bruyne drive

85': Vertonghen diverts Kolo Muani shot into own net

Match in brief: France edge tight round of 16 derby

Mike Maignan keeps out a Kevin De Bruyne free-kick

As befitting two teams that have met in recent FIFA World Cup and UEFA Nations League semi-finals, France and Belgium began this encounter showing plenty of mutual respect. That translated into careful early probing, with Les Bleus more busily on the offensive as they tried to unpick their opponents' five-man defence.

The first real frisson came at the other end, however. Belgium had fallen into a pattern of waiting for counters, but it was from a dead ball that they nearly took the lead. Kevin De Bruyne arced a free-kick into the France box that evaded everyone and forced Mike Maignan – seeing the ball late – to scramble a save with his feet.

That presaged a positive spell from the Red Devils, who were nonetheless fortunate to end the first half level, Marcus Thuram heading narrowly wide from a Jules Koundé cross before Aurélien Tchouameni blazed over. Tchouameni had the first bite after the interval too, his shot from the edge of the area deflected by Wout Faes and batted away by Koen Casteels.

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France were building pressure, but their aim was largely askew. Thuram, Tchouameni and Kylian Mbappé all sent efforts over and William Saliba screwed a shot wide, after Romelu Lukaku had at least found the target for Belgium. The Roma forward tested Maignan with a fierce strike, and the France keeper was likewise equal to a De Bruyne drive.

The Red Devils looked like they might make France pay for their spurned chances – until the breakthrough finally came. Substitute Randal Kolo Muani was the instigator, turning in the area and beating Casteels with a shot that took a crucial deflection off Jan Vertonghen. Tough on Belgium, perhaps, but France had long threatened to strike and they can now look forward to the quarter-finals.

Vivo Player of the Match: Jules Koundé (France)

France vs Belgium Player of the Match: Jules Koundé

Very strong defensively and very helpful in attacking areas. He put in dangerous crosses and proved very good defensively in his one-on-ones against Jérémy Doku.
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Alex Clementson, France reporter

A tussle between two European footballing behemoths. It was tense, cagey and took a while to break down a resolute Belgian back line, but the wait was all worth it. A microcosm of their EURO 2024 campaign to date, but the Deschamps machine keeps rolling on. This is a side that lives and breathes success, and there's a steely confidence in their ability to find a way when needed. On they go.

David D'Hondt, Belgium reporter

In a difficult game, ultimately France had more opportunities than Belgium and won the game as a result. The Red Devils gave it all they had, but they just couldn't carve out the opportunities for Lukaku and company that they would have wanted. Their EURO 2024 journey ends here.


Belgium pay close attention to Antoine Griezmann

Didier Deschamps, France coach : "We made a lot of progress and our opponents were obviously cautious, even if they're an attacking team on paper. We did everything we could to create chances, and we created more than them, but we played the waiting game and didn't fall into their trap. I liked that, but obviously you can't win through possession alone. I'd like us to create more chances."

Jules Koundé, Vivo Player of the Match: "For me, this was our best performance of the competition. We created a lot of chances, we played a comprehensive game, and the goal at the end made sure all our efforts were worth it."

Koundé relief as France edge through

Adrien Rabiot, France midfielder: "I feel joy, of course. We're happy to have qualified for the quarter-finals. It wasn't an easy game, against a good Belgian side, but we're ready for any type of challenge. Obviously, there's a lot of satisfaction in scoring in the final minutes. We played well, we pushed, we created chances without managing to convert them. We pushed to win, so I think it's deserved."

Kylian Mbappé (left) and Kevin De Bruyne share a moment

Domenico Tedesco, Belgium coach : "It's difficult to go into detail tonight. We saw that France had trouble defending behind their lines. They were really high. We wanted to play with three forwards to attack the spaces in behind. That was the main idea. In defence, we wanted to take out their wingers and this worked well. To think that Lukaku goes home without a goal [in the tournament] after how he performed… it's a pity."

Kevin De Bruyne, Belgium midfielder: "It is a pity. We had a plan and we executed that plan pretty well. We knew that with their qualities they would have more of the ball. We had our moments, although there weren't very many. But we were dangerous at times. Our plan was good until their goal came. Then we had little time to respond."

De Bruyne bemoans Belgium luck

Key stats

  • France have now reached at least the quarter-finals in six of the last seven major tournaments, three times at a UEFA EURO and three times in the FIFA World Cup.
  • Les Bleus have won all five of their matches against Belgium at major tournaments.
  • Overall, France have won 27 of their 76 games against Belgium, losing 30 and drawing 19.
  • Excluding penalty shoot-outs, France have lost only one of their last 15 EURO matches (W8 D6).
  • France's three goals at EURO 2024 include two own goals and an Mbappé penalty.
  • N'Golo Kanté has contested the most games in EURO history without ever finishing on the losing side (W7 D5).
  • Belgium have won just two of their last 14 meetings with France (D4 L8).
  • This was only Belgium's second defeat in their last 18 internationals (W11 D6).
  • The Red Devils have still never played extra time in a EURO match.


France line up for action in Düsseldorf

France: Maignan; Koundé, Upamecano, Saliba, Hernández, Tchouameni, Kanté, Rabiot; Thuram (Kolo Muani 62), Griezmann, Mbappé

Belgium: Casteels; Castagne (De Ketelaere 88), Faes, Vertonghen, Theate; Openda (Mangala 64), Onana, Carrasco (Lukébakio 88); De Bruyne, Lukaku, Doku

Next up

France advance to Friday's quarter-final in Hamburg, where they will face the winner of this evening's round of 16 tie between Portugal and Slovenia.

The winners of that last-eight tie play their semi-final in Munich on 9 July, with the final in Berlin five days later.

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