Paul Pogba has described reaching the World Cup final for France as a “beautiful” moment following an impressively calulcated 1-0 win over Belgium.
The Frenchman got his team going in the first half with a string of superb passes through the lines, bringing Didier Deschamps’ men up the pitch and getting key players on the ball.
France went ahead soon after half time through a header from Samuel Umtiti before diligently defending their area to secure their place in the final.
Speaking after the game, Pogba expressed his delight but emphasised that France needed to overcome the demons of their Euro 2016 final defeat to Portugal.
“It is beautiful, it is good,” he said. “We are happy, but there is still one more step to take.
“Today, I am happy. However, this is not like Euro 2016. We were lucky enough to be in that final and we missed out on something beautiful. We must not let this chance pass.
“There is still a big step left, so we need to focus again. We will enjoy ourselves a little, not for long — we must be focused for the final.
“The Euro was too beautiful; I still have that on my mind. We were there, we were so close to the title, and we just fell short. I do not want to relive that. I am happy because we have made people happy, but I hope to make them even happier on the evening of Sunday July 15.”
Pogba underperformed in that final against Portugal. He, along with his teammates, appeared to stagnate, bogged down by the occasion, the sheer pressure on their shoulders.
Since then, he has hardly left the limelight, with noise from all corners following him wherever he went after becoming the world’s most expensive player in August 2016. That chatter hasn’t let up once.
On Sunday, however, he has the chance to join the likes of Thierry Henry, Zinedine Zidane and Emmanuel Petit in France’s canon of legends of the game. And for once, just for a bit, the talking will stop completely.