France move on into the semi-final of the World Cup for the first time since 2006, after goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann knocked out a lacklustre Uruguay.
France started very well with the free-flowing passing that we become so used to in this World Cup and kept a lot of possession in the first half. A couple of fouls happened early on, most notably Jose Maria Gimenez standing on Olivier Giroud. They created a lot of chances early on when Giroud headed towards Kylian Mbappe who headed it over the bar and Paul Pogba smashing the ball into the stands from 30 yards. Les Bleus then switched up their game plan, launching long balls into the box trying to take advantage of the height of Giroud.
Uruguay struggled trying to get into the French half, and without the physicality and leadership of Edinson Cavani to partner up with Luis Suarez, they did not pose much of a threat inside the first 30 minutes. Every time France came forward with pace, the defensive duo of Diego Godín and Jose Maria Gimenez was there to snuff out Mbappe, Griezmann and Tolisso.
The first goal came from a freekick from Antoine Griezmann, who stuttered his run, launched the ball high into the area, before connecting with the head of Raphaël Varane. It was the Real Madrid man’s third goal for his country, and the start that the 1998 World Champions needed.
Almost immediately after, Uruguay almost responded with Nahitan Nandez with the half volley, hitting the ball straight at the captain, Hugo Lloris, from outside of the area. They then got a free kick just inside of the half. Just like Griezmann’s free kick, Lucas Torreira launched the ball high into the area, Martin Caceres headed towards goal before being saved spectacularly by the Tottenham ‘keeper Lloris.
In the early moments of the second half, Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera lost the ball to Griezmann but the ball was knocked out of play and let the Galatasaray man off the hook.
France got a free kick within the first five minutes, taken very well by Mbappe with Pogba colliding with the ball Cascaras and Muslera.
Rodrigo Bentancur almost got Uruguay back into the game after Samuel Umtiti was dispossessed of the ball by the Uruguay attack but Bentancur hit it just wide.
The second goal came from a huge mistake from Muslera, when Griezmann smashed the ball on his left foot from outside the box, Muslera tried to parried the ball away instead of catching it. This proved to be a fatal mistake, as the ball then rolled off his hands and dropped into the back of the net, much to the despair of the fans.
A huge brawl took place with several players getting in each other’s faces, after Mbappe went down next to Cristian Rodríguez, then Godin tried to pick the young star up. Suarez and Tolisso appeared to get into each other’s faces, as well as Pogba appeared to grab Nandez’ head in the aftermath.
France almost finished the game off with Tolisso’s bending shot coming close to making it 3-0. Griezmann lined up a freekick towards the end of the game but it went over the top of the crossbar.
The French will now go on to take on the winners of tonight’s contest between Brazil and Belgium, and if they can keep up this level of play, who knows how far Didier Deschamps men can go. As for Uruguay, with a lot of their senior players like Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin all in their early thirties, most of their national team may not yet see the next World Cup in Qatar in 2022.