France cruised into the semi-finals of the World Cup with a routine 2-0 victory over Uruguay as the South Americans struggled to create any clear chances throughout the 90 minutes at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Friday.
- Uruguay 0 France 2
- Mbappe misses good chance
- Varane (40′) heads home the first
- Lloris saves brilliantly from Caceres
- Griezmann (61′) hits second from Muslera error
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) July 6, 2018
It was a tight first half but France hit the front through a clinical Raphael Varane header. Soon after, Hugo Lloris produced a stunning save to deny Martin Caceres.
In the second period, Oscar Tabarez’s men had little threat whatsoever and Antoine Griezmann got a fortunate second goal after a mistake by Fernando Muslera.
The opening 10 minutes produced little action as both sides felt each other out although the first chance came for Uruguay in the 14th minute. Lucas Torreira’s corner was swung into the area and it picked out Diego Godin, who nodded goalwards.
With Jose Gimenez lurking with intent, Lloris was alert and came out to punch to avert the danger. A minute later Les Bleus had a great chance to take the advantage from golden boy Kylian Mbappe.
When a cross from the right found a towering Olivier Giroud at the far post, his header found the 19-year-old in space on the edge of the small box. Yet, with no one near him, the striker sent a tame looping header over the bar when he may have done better.
Both defences kept it tight for much of the remainder of the first stanza before a flurry of action just before the interval. Firstly, Rodrigo Bentancur went into the book for a hacking down Corentin Tolisso on the right-hand side of the area.
Griezmann then hit a superb curling delivery after a rehearsed set-piece before Varane broke in front of his marker, and sent in a flick which flew into the bottom corner beyond a helpless Muslera in the 40th minute.
Four minutes later La Celeste came close to levelling matters as Caceres rose to connect with a firm header, however, Lloris produced a full-length diving save to his right for one of the saves of the tournament.
After the break, the French seemed content to sit deep and soak up the pressure while La Celeste pushed numbers forward in search of an equaliser. With that said, Luis Suarez remained largely anonymous.
Virtually out of nowhere after the hour mark, Didier Deschamps’ men extended their advantage through Griezmann. Following a bursting run from Paul Pogba, the ball was worked to the Atletico Madrid star by Tolisso, and he set himself up for a left-footed strike from around 25-yards.
The ball deviated slightly in the air but then Muslera fluffed his lines and made a hash of his parried save, as the ball rebounded cruelly off his hands and over his head into the back of the net.
There was action away from the ball not long after as Mbappe went down under what appeared to be light contact to the face from Cristian Rodriguez. After a period of pushing and shoving from both sides, the pair saw yellow.
There was little else to report in the closing stages as it seemed clear the Uruguayans had run out of ideas, with those in light blue looking dejected as their World Cup dreams came to an end.
— French Team (@FrenchTeam) July 6, 2018