It’s all over – France books their place in the World Cup semi-finals, where they will face either Brazil or Belgium. They’ve won courtesy of two very soft goals – a header at a set-piece and a goalkeeping error – but were ultimately too good for an Uruguay team that desperately missed their talismanic striker Edinson Cavani. France advance, while Uruguay goes home.
France will meet Brazil or Belgium in the World Cup semi-finals after a 2-0 last-eight victory against Uruguay in Nizhny Novgorod. Raphaël Varane’s 40th-minute header gave France the lead then Antoine Griezmann, who supplied the free-kick for the first goal, sealed victory on the hour.
France will return to the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Tuesday night when they will face either Brazil or Belgium, who play on Friday night in Kazan. Edinson Cavani, Uruguay’stwo-goal hero against Portugal in the last 16, succumbed to his calf injury and did not start the match. The former Middlesbrough striker Cristhian Stuani lined up alongside Luis Suárez in an attack in an otherwise unchanged side.
Didier Deschamps, the France head coach, also had to make a change to the team who defeated Argentina in a 4-3 thriller in the last round, with Corentin Tolisso coming in for the suspended Blaise Matuidi in midfield.
France was spearheaded again by Olivier Giroud with Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann alongside him supplying pace and flair. Despite Cavani’s absence, Uruguay made a promising start, Suárez and Stuani linking well but without much end product.
As the game progressed France’s midfield started to find their range and rhythm, and the first big chance of the game went to an unmarked Mbappé only for the teenager to mistime his leap and head harmlessly over from six yards out. Just as the game seemed to be drifting towards the break, the France centre-back Varane showed Mbappé how it is done with a glancing header from a Griezmann free-kick.
Uruguay, however, almost immediately equalised with an identical goal. But this time Hugo Loris pulled off a brilliant save from a Martin Caceres header to preserve France’s 1-0 lead. Griezmann then sealed victory for France when the Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera failed to keep out the Atlético Madrid forward’s 61st-minute strike.
Source: The Guardian