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2018 World Cup: France Beats Uruguay 2-0 To Reach Semifinals

By John Carlo A. Villaruel
on Jul 07, 2018 08:43 AM EDT
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France dominated Uruguay 2-0 on Friday's quarterfinals to move into the penultimate round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup at the Nizhny Novgorod in Russia.

Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane all found the back of the net for France, who will take on European neighbors Belgium in the next round. It was also their first time since 2006 to make it into the semifinal round.

France's Aggressive Early

The Les Bleus had an early chance on goal when teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe created a spectacular opportunity off a pass from Olivier Giroud, but his header failed to hit the target. After numerous sequences of missed opportunities, Varane made a run at goal in the 40th minute when he scored a header off a brilliant pass from Griezmann to put the Les Bleus on the scoreboard 1-0.

Aiming to keep the lead at the halftime, the Frenchmen stood their ground as goalkeeper Hugo Lloris made a miraculous one-hand save on Martin Caceres' header. Diego Godin tried to make the most out of Caceres' failed shot, but his follow-up attempt stayed out as well.

With striker Edinson Cavani unable to play for Uruguay due to an injury, France sustained its momentum in the second half by controlling most of the ball possession. The Les Bleus doubled their lead a few minutes later thanks to a 61st-minute goal by Griezmann from outside the box.

Uruguay's goalkeeper Fernando Muslera seemingly had the chance to stop Griezmann's shot but an ill-advised attempt to palm the ball resulted in a catastrophe that saw the former deflecting the ball straight into the net. Uruguay tried to put up several shots on the next plays, but it did not cause serious trouble on Lloris. For finishing with a goal and an assist, Griezmann was named as the man of the match.

With the victory, the Les Bleus became just the second team after the Netherlands to outduel three South American teams in a single World Cup tournament. Additionally, France made its sixth semifinal appearance.

Frustrated Uruguay Squad

In spite the loss, Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez praised his players for giving everything in the court. Tabarez added that they were simply outplayed by the Les Bleus, who controlled the midfield all game long. Caceres' header and Godin's follow-up were the best chances Uruguay had in the game.

"We don't play as well as our rivals, that's why we lost," Tabarez said.

Uruguay was seeking on their first semifinal appearance in the World Cup since 2010. It also marked the first time since last year that Cavani and Luis Suarez did not start together for Uruguay.

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