2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

14 June - 15 July

2018 FIFA World Cup™ 

Clinical Bleus end Uruguay’s dream

France won through to the World Cup semi-finals for the first time in 12 years after seeing off a combative Uruguay side that struggled in the absence of the injured Edinson Cavani. Los Charrúas made a strong start all the same, with Cavani’s replacement Cristhian Stuani shooting across the face of goal. At the back, meanwhile, La Celeste were their usual organised selves, giving away no space whatsoever.

Seeing more of the ball, France put some good moves together only to struggle in the box, where the Uruguayans were quick to snuff out any danger. Ironically, France’s opener came from a set-piece, habitually one of La Celeste’s strengths, with Raphael Varane glancing a header home from Antoine Griezmann’s pinpoint delivery. The Uruguayans would have equalised on the stroke of half-time but for a miraculous stop from Hugo Lloris, who dived full-length to claw away a Martin Caceres header.

In a bid to turn the game around, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez rang the changes in the second half, sending on Maxi Lopez and Cristian Rodriguez. Their Russia 2018 hopes came to an end, however, when a Griezmann shot deceived Fernando Muslera and slipped through the keeper’s hands and over the line.

Team reporter analysis
Florencia Simoes, with Uruguay (Follow on Twitter | Facebook)
Having enjoyed a relatively stress-free campaign so far, Uruguay were made to suffer against France. Though Les Blues dominated play, La Celeste still managed to create openings, but could find no way past Lloris, who was on top form. Tabarez reshuffled his midfield in the second half but was unable to alter the course of the game. Though not at their best on a frustrating afternoon, Uruguay can take pride from their campaign.

Adrien Gingold, with France (Follow on Twitter | Facebook)
In terms of intensity, this was a match that lived up to expectations, generating plenty of tension from start to finish. In the end, it all came down to two pairs of hands. While Lloris’ saved France, Muslera’s sealed Uruguay’s defeat. France gave nothing away in defence, denying the Uruguayans space as they battled in vain to get back into the match.

Budweiser Man of the Match
Antoine Griezmann once again showed why he is one of the best strikers in the world. As well as directing operations for his side up front – linking up with his fellow forwards and darting into space time and again – he had a big hand in his side’s two goals, flighting in the measured free-kick from which Varane nodded France in front and then scoring the second with the assistance of the unfortunate Muslera.

The stat
Varane’s goal was the first in the fixture at the World Cup in 279 minutes of play. The last goal in a France-Uruguay World Cup match was scored 52 years ago by La Celeste’s Julio Cesar Cortez in his side’s 2-1 defeat of the French at England 1966. In between came two 0-0 draws between the two nations, in the group phases at Korea/Japan 2002 and South Africa 2010.

What's next
France-Brazil/Belgium, 10 July, Semi-final, Saint Petersburg

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