Jubilant Didier Deschamps guided France into the World Cup Final – then admitted his stars are still hurting from their Euro 2016 nightmare.
Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti headed Les Bleus into Sunday’s showpiece game to shatter Belgium dreams in St Petersburg.
And that left Red Devil’s French coach Thierry Henry watching on as his countrymen celebrated reaching a third final in the last six World Cups.
Deschamps revealed the glittering occasion will now be the prefect chance for stars like Paul Pogba – who dedicated victory to the youngsters rescued from a cave in Thailand – to lay the ghosts of Euro 2016 when they lost the final in their own Paris backyard to Portugal.
“We have given ourselves a huge opportunity by reaching the final. But finals have to be won because we have still not got over the one we lost two years ago” said Deschamps.
“I was there two years ago with my staff, it was so painful that we really wanted to taste the victory tonight.
“We will work hard to be on the right side of the final this time and not let happen what happened two years ago.”
Umtiti’s 51st minute header from Antoine Griezmann’s corner was the only goal of a fast flowing game which ended in heartbreak for Belgium’s stars.
Deschamps, a World Cup winner in 1998, has the chance to join an elite club of men who have won the trophy as a player and manager.
But he insisted his stars must now write their own history.
“We have a very young team. Their progression is huge. Some of them were not born in 98, but they’ve seen pictures.
“I am here with them today to write a new page in history, the most beautiful page.”
Goal hero Umtiti said: “The World Cup winners worked in ’98 and we worked hard today – we reached out target to get to the final so I’m very satisfied."
Beaten boss Roberto Martinez praised his stars saying: “It was a dead ball situation which was the difference. It was a close game and it was going to be decided by that bit of luck in front of goal.”
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