By Izuchukwu Okosi
France on Friday afternoon defeated Uruguay 2-0 at the Nizhny Novrograd Stadium to book their place in the semifinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup where they will play against Brazil or Belgium on Tuesday.
Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann were the two scorers for Didier Deschamps’ French team.
France are now unbeaten in their last ten World Cup matches against South American sides (W6, D4), keeping a clean sheet in eight of those games.
Coming into Friday’s game, Uruguay were undefeated in eight matches.
In the 21st minute Pogba and Mbappe combined in the final third to attempt to release Griezmann in the box, but the forward’s flick was intercepted by Jose Gimenez.
Kylian Mbeppe diverted Benjamin Pavard’s 30th minute low cross into the penalty box and the ball was swiftly cleared by the Uruguayans.
Uruguay’s Rodrigo Bentacur was booked for a foul on Corentin Tolisso which could have ruled him out of the semifinals match if his team had progressed having seen yellow for the second time in the tournament.
The resultant free kick five minutes to the half time break was taken by Antoine Griezmann and from that set piece, Raphael Varane headed the French team ahead.
With a minute left to play in the first half, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris kept France in front with an outstanding save to deny Martin Carceres.
Uruguay’s keeper Fernando Muslera was almost caught napping by Griezmann in the 47th minute as he dithered on his distribution of the ball. The keeper’s sloppy play would have extended Le Blues’ lead.
Muslera’s earlier near gaffe was punished later as France doubled their lead in the 61st minute through Griezmann whose shot was parried into the net by the keeper.
Tolisso was presented with a good chance to make it 3-0 but found his effort miss target by some inches. The Bayern Munich star was soon replaced by Steven N’zozi.
Uruguay threw everything they could to force a comeback but their efforts were repelled by a resolute France back line.
Photo source: Getty Images