Uruguay 0-2 France World Cup 2018 quarter-final: match report
France are the first team into the 2018 World Cup semi-final after goals in either half from Varane and Griezmann with the help of a massive error from Fernando Muslera. Cruz Azul vs America: Liga MX, live online
Uruguay 2-0 France: match report
It was a game that would pit one of the world's fiercest defence against one of the world's most potentially enchanting attacks. One of them was going to prevail and at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Friday afternoon, Uruguay were no match for France.
Edinson Cavani succumbed to a hamstring injury suffered against Portugal. It means any Uruguayan success would have to come without one of their most important players. He was replaced by Cristhian Stuani but Oscar Washington Tabarez' side were missing that je ne sais quoi in attack.
They went a goal down in the first half when Antoine Griezmann lofted a perfect free into Raphael Varane's path. He had lost Matias Vecino and glances home after 40 minutes. Uruguay responded with a flurry of chances themselves but they ran out of time in the opening half and they never regained their momentum.
From the start of the second half, France was dominant. They were never spectacular but were keeping Uruguay at arm's length. The South American's hopes were dashed when Antoien Griezmann struck from downtown and saw his show scutter past Fernando Muslera after a weak attempt to beat the ball away from his goals.
Uruguay, again responded, but they could not find the net. They will be left wondering what might have been if Cavani did not injure himself. France, who are improving steadily without ever setting Russia alight, are into the last four of the competition and can kick their feet back and watch the other three quarter-finals battle it out in an attempt to join them in the semi-final.
Uruguay - France live online: updates | World Cup 2018
Uruguay - France line online: preview | World Cup 2018
There has been no shortage of storylines heading into the first quarter-final of the World Cup between Uruguay and France. It's very much a battle of styles at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Friday afternoon with kick-off at 16:00 CEST. Uruguay have conceded just once in four games and France play an expansive style with speedsters Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann on the frontline of their attack. Meanwhile, Antoine Griezmann says he feels partly Uruguayan given his closeness to Diego Godín - the godfather to his daughter - and his familial ties to the country but Luis Suárez has knocked him back in his efforts to claim honorary citizenship. Suarez said, "As much as he says he's half Uruguayan, he's French."
Aside from the spat over feelings of national pride, it looks like Edinson Cavani will not make it back in time to play against France after picking up a hamstring injury against Portugal in the last 16 tie even though Oscar Tabarez was unwilling to get drawn on speculation about his injury. He scored twice in that game, which was enough to see Oscar Tabarez' side advance and will likely be replaced by Cristhian Stuani, who is coming off a superb season with Girona in LaLiga. Luis Suarez also suffered a knock during training but should be good to go when kick-off rolls around on Friday. One of the big issues is at right-back where Diego Laxalt has been good but he is not naturally a right-back and Kylian Mbappé is in excellent form. Tabarez has led this team since 2006 and has a fourth-placed finish on his CV. If he can figure out a way past France, it means he will at least equal his best finish with his country.
France will miss Blaise Matuidi, who is suspended for the clash. He will likely be replaced by Corentin Tolisso in midfield. Kylian Mbappe, after his brace against Argentina in the last 16, landed himself on France’s all-time list of top goalscorers at a single World Cup with three goals. He sits second on that list. He also became the youngest player to score a brace since Pele did it in Sweden 1958.
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