France beat Uruguay 2-0 in the quarterfinals on Friday July 6th in Nizhny Novgorod on goals from Varane and Antoine Griezmann. France are into the semi-finals of the World Cup for the first time since 2006.
France will play either Brazil or Belgium in the semi-final in Saint Petersburg on Tuesday July 10th.
In the 40th minute of the match, Raphael Varane scored the first France goal against Uruguay. Varane raced across the area to meet a free kick and struck a glancing header that went into the far corner behind keeper Fernando Muslera.
At the 63th minute Antoine Griezmann scored the second goal to give France a 2-0 lead.
The second goal came due to an embarrassing gaffe from Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. With the score at 1-0, the man with the assist for that opener, Antoine Griezmann, hit a half-hearted shot on goal. As though already resigned to his shot having no chance of resulting in a goal, Griezmann almost turned his back. Astonishingly, the goalkeeper then palmed the ball over himself into his own net to double the French lead.
Much was expected of 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe following his two goals in the 4-3 defeat of Argentina in the previous round.
He enjoyed a couple of runs from deep and had a chance with a free header over the bar, but the Paris Saint-Germain forward was unable to find space further forward to cause damage.
Mbappe went in the book along with substitute Cristian Rodriguez when the game became ill-tempered following France’s second goal, and was substituted late on.
These were only the second and third goals conceded by Uruguay in five World Cup matches. Uruguay played without striker Edinson Cavani who sat on the bench with an injured left calf picked up victory over Portugal in a round-of 16 match. Substitute Cristhian Stuani filled in for Cavani, teaming up front with Luis Suarez.
Uruguay fall in the World Cup quarter-finals for only the second time, after their 4-0 defeat to West Germany in 1966.
France become the fourth team to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup at least six times (after Germany, Brazil, Italy).
France went on to reach the World Cup final the last two times it advanced this far. It won its only World Cup in 1998 on home soil, and in 2006 lost the final to Italy on penalties.
“Uruguay are a tough team, who remind me of my club side Atletico, where everybody works hard in attack and defence and I think it’s a pleasure to watch because it’s something that I see it day in day out. I love Uruguayan culture and Uruguayans so I have a lot of respect for them. I don’t think that [France] have a style that is set. We observe what happens during the match and we have people who know how to manage the game, they know when to stop and when to move in attack. When I have the ball I try to take the game to where we want it to be. I didn’t celebrate that goal because when I started as a professional player I was supported by a Uruguayan who taught me the good and bad things in football, so I have a lot of respect for Uruguay as a country. I was also playing against friends, so out of respect I thought that it was normal not to celebrate my goal” Man of the Match, Antoine Griezmann said at the post game press conference.
“For a country like Uruguay, you feel [bad about the defeat], with our history, of course you do. But now we need to move on. There are many countries who belong to the footballing elite who left this tournament much earlier. Only those that don’t do anything, don’t make mistakes. I told all my players after the match that they can be very proud, keep their heads high. I don’t have anything bad to say against them. We all saw that it was not a very common goal, but Muslera has been a very important pillar in all our work up until now.” Oscar Tabarez, Uruguay coach said.
“I think we deserved the result, we played against a beautiful Uruguayan side but we were better than they were today. I have a younger team, and they’ve already played as a team before, but today’s requirements were even higher because the opponents become better as you progress. I like to reach my goals like everybody else but I don’t look at this from a personal perspective. My pride is related to the entire group and here I want to mention my technical staff who help me day in day out. I’m not doing this for myself, I’m there for the team. It’s true [Olivier] Giroud has not scored yet, I repeat yet. He is important in our team and for our style of play. In the last match he made an assist for Mbappe and we need this sort of supporting play. Giroud is always generous and doesn’t complain when it comes to working hard. He may not have the flamboyant style of other players, but the team needs him in each and every match. He does many things for the team to be balanced. The players around him benefit.” Didier Deschamps, France coach said.
A total of 32 national football teams are participating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, held in 11 cities across Russia between June 14 and July 15.
The teams were divided into eight groups, with four in each, and the top two from their relevant groups proceeded to the next round, known as the playoffs or the knockout stage, to keep vying for the much-coveted FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Russia is holding its first time ever edition of the FIFA World Cup, which kicked off in Moscow with a spectacular opening show at the Luzhniki Stadium on the night of June 14. The World Cup is being held at 12 arenas across 11 cities with the final set to be played at Luzhniki on July 15. The 11 host cities are Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Nizhny Novgorod, Yekaterinburg and Samara.