France v Belgium: Euro 2024 last 16 – live

Key events

33 min: Regarding me only being able to work with the game I’ve been given: “Just make stuff up!” writes Marlon Seton. “Sunak does it. Trump does it. Farage does it. I’ve no evidence but I wouldn’t be surprised if Le Pen does it.”

As much as I would like to, it would be a grave breach of the minute-by-minute reporter’s unwritten code of ethics. Unless, of course, this is a really pulsating thriller and I’m just pretending otherwise for an easy life.

30 min: Half an hour in and this is a very boring, turgid affair. My personal theory, which may be completely half-baked? Kevin De Bruyne thinks Belgium’s manager is not up to the job and may organise an on-field mutiny at some point later in the game if things aren’t going his side’s way.

28 min: More good work down the left from Doku. He picks out Openda, whose shot is deflected into the path of Carrasco. Hernandez blocks his effort in the penalty area and Belgium appeal for handball and a penalty. Neither the ref nor his video assistants are interested.

26 min: Our Swedish referee is unnecessarily fussy and books Adrien Rabiot very harshly for a challenge on Doku. I’m not even sure it was a foul but the France midfielder will miss the next game if his team wins.

23 min: Belgium get Jeremy Doku on the ball high up the pitch. He cuts in from the left and is felled by Griezmann, who is booked. De Bruyne’s viciously whipped, dipping free-kick is kicked clear by Maignan, who appeared to lose track of the flight of the ball as it came towards him. The France goalkeeper got away with one there.

French goalkeeper Mike Maignan (right) clears the ball rather than saving it. Photograph: Georgi Licovski/EPA

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20 min: On ITV, Super Ally McCoist is on co-comms and remarks on how deep Kevin De Bruyne is playing, more or less side-by-side with Andre Amadou Onana in the Belgium midfield. “I don’t think he’ll be too happy with that,” says Alistair. “He won’t fancy playing there all day.”

20 min: Adrien Rabiot shoots high over the bar from distance.

19 min: I won’t lie, this is a tough watch. Apologies if it’s a tough read but I can only work with the game I’ve been given!

17 min: Jules Kounde sends a low cross into the Belgium box from the right and it’s put out for a corner. Griezmann’s excellent inswinger towards the near post is headed hopelessly high and wide by Marcus Thuram.

14 min: Griezmann takes a short corner, the ball finds its way to Mbappe in the Belgium penalty area and he shoots high over the bar, his effort taking a clear deflection. The referee awards a goal-kick and when France complain about his decision, he shows Tchouameni a yellow card. Nonsense.


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13 min: A feeble Griezmann shot is easily dealt with by Koen Casteels in the Belgium goal.

11 min: Romelu Lukaku sprints out to the touchline to chase a ball from deep but can only put it out for a France throw-in as William Saliba drapes himself all over him. Lukaku appeals for a free-kick but doesn’t get one.

“I didn’t touch him ref!” Photograph: Leon Kuegeler/Reuters

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9 min: Lois Openda chases down a backpass to the feet of Mike Maignan but the France goalkeeper deals with it comfortably under pressure, pinging the ball to the feet of Theo Hernandez out by the touchline.

8 min: It’s cagey from both teams early doors but France are hogging the ball, pressing and probing for an opening.

7 min: Kylian Mbappe advances on the Belgium penalty area with the ball at his feet. He plays a sideways pass inside to Antoine Griezmann and sprints into the box looking for the return pass. His teammates nine-iron over the top doesn’t find him.

France’s Kylian Mbappe shows the ball to Belgium’s Timothy Castagne, Jeremy Doku and Amadou Onana. Photograph: Leon Kuegeler/Reuters

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5 min: France throw-in, deep in Belgium territory after good work down the right by Mbappe and Tchouameni. Timothy Castagne prevents the ball going out for a corner, opting for the lesser of two threats. Nothing comes of it.

3 min: With Belgium in possession, Lois Openda chases a long ball down the right but it’s dealt with comfortably by Dayot Upamecano, who plays the it back to Mike Maignan in the French goal.

2 min: Belgium goalkeeper Koen Casteels gets an early touch, his team having lined up with five at the back. Timothy Castagne and Yannick Carrasco are the wing-backs.

France v Belgium is go …

1 min: Having won the national anthems, France get the ball rolling as they go about trying to win the match. They’re in white shirts, blue shorts and white socks. The players of Belgium are in – I’m going to say – maroon shirts, black shorts and maroon socks. Game on …

Not long now: The players march out on the pitch, France led by Kylian Mbappe and Belgium by Kevin De Bruyne, who struggled to hide his irritation with his manager, several of his teammates and the nation’s fans during and after their stalemate against Ukraine. But it’s a new day and a new dawn, as Nina Simone famously sang. We’ll find out in due course if Kevin is feeling good. Kick off is a couple of anthems, some handshakes, a coin-toss and a shrill blast of referee Glenn Nyberg’s whistle away.

Belgium midfielder Amadou Onana applauds his country’s fans. Photograph: Hassan Ammar/AP
Wearing his protective face mask, Kylian Mbappe, who is officially a Real Madrid player as of today, warms up ahead of kick-off. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

France: Kylian Mbappe is at his best coming off the flank, but this may cause an imbalance in the side as they take on Belgium, writes Jonathan Wilson.

Those teams: As expected, Antoine Griezmann is recalled to the France line-up, while Marcus Thuram starts in place of Ousmane Dembele.

Belgium manager Domenico Tadesco makes two changes. Lois Openda and Yannick Carrasco come in to the side, with Leandro Trossard and Youri Tielemans making way.

Lois Openda

France v Belgium line-ups

France: Maignan, Kounde, Upamecano, Saliba, Hernandez, Tchouameni, Kante, Rabiot, Griezmann, Thuram, Mbappe.

Subs: Samba, Pavard, Mendy, Camavinga, Giroud, Dembele, Muani, Zaire Emery, Fofana, Coman, Clauss, Areola, Konate, Barcola.

Belgium: Casteels, Castagne, Faes, Vertonghen, Theate, De Bruyne, Onana, Doku, Openda, Carrasco, Lukaku.

Subs: Debast, Witsel, Tielemans, Trossard, Kaminski, Sels, Lukebakio, Vranckx, De Ketelaere, Mangala, Bakayoko, Vermeeren, De Cuyper.

That’s frite-ing talk. Photograph: Christopher Neundorf/EPA

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Today’s match officials

  • Referee: Glenn Nyberg

  • Referee’s assistants: Mahbod Beigi and Andreas Soderkvist

  • Fourth official: Donatas Rumsas

  • Video assistant referee: Pol van Boekel

Swedish referee Glenn Nyberg is in charge of maintaining order during today’s match between France and Belgium. Photograph: Foto Olimpik/Action Plus/REX/Shutterstock

Early team news

France manager Didier Deschamps has a full squad at his disposal and is expected to recall Antoine Griezmann to his starting line-up, with either Adrian Rabiot or Bradley Barcola likely to make way. Ousmane Dembele could also miss out after failing to impress in the group stages and should he drop to the bench, Inter Milan striker Marcus Thuram is likely to get the nod.

Axel Witsel and Thomas Meunier are both injury concerns for Belgium, whose winger Dodi Lukebakio is available for selection after missing out on his side’s unimpressive stalemate with Ukraine through suspension. He or Yannick Carrasco may come in for Leandro Trossard, who contributed very little to the national cause in that stalemate. Kevin De Bruyne aside, few of Belgium’s players impressed in that game so it would be no great surprise to see a few changes.

Antoine Griezmann is expected to return to the France starting line-up today. Photograph: Franck Fife/AFP/Getty Images

Round of 16: France v Belgium

The Dusseldorf Arena is the venue for today’s match between France and Belgium, two heavyweights who have yet to play anywhere near their best in these Euros. Both nations failed to win their groups and had to settle for second place. Now only one can progress to the quarter-finals, with France the odds-on favourites who are far from racing certainties. Kick-off in western Germany is at 5pm but stay tuned in the meantime for team news and build-up.


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