World Cup 2018: France beat Uruguay 2-0 to qualify for the semi-finals
France sealed their sixth semi-final appearance at the World Cup, beating Uruguay 2-0 at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Friday.
Raphael Varane put them ahead in the 40th minute, rising over an entire Uruguayan defence to head in a Antoine Griezmann free-kick, before goalkeeper Fernando Muslera gifted another with a complete misjudgment of the ball.
Finding some space outside the Uruguayan penalty-box, the Atletico Madrid striker Griezmann fired a shot that straight into the hands of Muslera. But the goalkeeper moved to his right and the ball to its left, leaving him with an timid attempt to make, that only helped it sail into the net.
Down by two goals, ‘La Celeste‘ found it tough going forward. Such a way was the team moulded that their main motive was to defend, but they drastically failed at it and couldn’t even attack to compensate for that failure.
They had come close when Martín Cáceres’ header just after Uruguay had conceded the first goal, was wonderfully saved by Hugo Lloris. Diego Godin skied from the rebound and that until the 77th minute remained the South American side’s only shot on target.
Uruguay missed the pace and intelligence of Edinson Cavani who was out with a calf-injury. His attacking partner Luis Suarez was largely anonymous during the match and failed to muster a single touch in the opposition’s box.
The game however was not as pleasant and classy as it sounds. While both sides retorted to nasty fouls, youngster Kylian Mbappe was the biggest clown. He tumbled to the ground in the 73rd minute after a slight touch against Christian Rodriguez, play-acting, simulating, time-wasting and what not.
It was ridiculous from the PSG player who had just the other night turned into a star following his sensational brace against Argentina. Yet, here he was trying to emulate his club teammate Neymar, who in this World Cup has broken several records by his performance on the turf.
Ironically it was Mbappe who had the first glorious chance to break the deadlock, when a wonderful cross from Benjamin Pavard was headed into his path by Olivier Giroud. He was alone unmarked and unbothered and he could easily chested the ball down before taking a shot.
But he chose to head the powerless ball into the goal and it sailed over. It was foolishness from him but that was just something he did the entire game until he was subbed off.
Uruguay on the other couldn’t shift gears and that was all the more difficult without the change of pace that the injured Cavani usually offered.
Cristian Stuani, who started in his place, offered nothing that the former would have and his only meaningful contribution was a shot pale and powerless straight at Lloris.
So was Suarez – Uruguay’s leader in attack. He was mostly abandoned, devoid of any services and that killed Uruguay’s chances of a semi-final.
Next Match: Brazil vs Belgium from the Kazan Arena at 11:30 pm IST