France ease past Uruguay to reach World Cup semi-finals

Saturday, July 07, 2018

Print this page Email A Friend!


NIZHNIY NOVGOROD, Russia (AFP) France coach Didier Deschamps warned there is more to come from his side, after they comfortably beat Uruguay 2-0 yesterday to become the first side to reach the World Cup semi-finals.

A fine header from Raphael Varane and an Antoine Griezmann shot that was fumbled by Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera gave France victory over a South American side that sorely missed injured striker Edinson Cavani.

It is the first time France have been in the last four since 2006 and sets up a mouth-watering clash against either Belgium or Brazil, who played later on Friday in St Petersburg on Tuesday.

Deschamps said his team had “again raised our level” after the 4-3 victory over Argentina in the last 16.

“I have a good team that still has plenty of room for improvement,” Deschamps told beIN Sports.

“You can see our lack of experience sometimes, but we have so many qualities too.

“In any case, it definitely won't be a failed World Cup now, and we'll wait to find out our opponents and see what happens.”

France took the lead in the 40th minute from the unlikely source of Varane, as the defender glanced home a fine header from Griezmann's free kick.

It was only the Real Madrid player's third goal for France and represented redemption for Varane, who was largely blamed for the goal that saw France lose at the quarter-final stage to Germany four years ago.

Griezmann, who counts several of the Uruguay players as close friends, scored a second in the 61st minute, but it was mostly due to a howler from Muslera.

The usually dependable stopper flapped at Griezmann's 20-yard shot and agonisingly saw the ball float over the line.

It was Griezmann's third goal of this World Cup, but his first not from a penalty.

That goal secured the victory but did not end the drama in Nizhny Novgorod, as Uruguay's frustration boiled over in the 67th minute when Kylian Mbappe fell to the floor.

Uruguay skipper Diego Godin remonstrated with the teenager and asked him to get up, then tried to pull him from the turf, sparking a melee that involved most of the players. Deschamps even came onto the pitch to try to calm tempers.

France's victory was merited — they had the bulk of possession and always looked the more likely to score.

They might have opened the scoring as early as the 15th minute when Mbappe mistimed a close header.

The lightning-quick Mbappe and Griezmann struck fear into the Uruguayan defence all afternoon.

In midfield, France's N'Golo Kante and Paul Pogba snuffed out any potential threat posed by Uruguay.

And up front for La Celeste, Luis Suarez cut an isolated and agitated figure.

Increasingly, Suarez vented his frustration with Argentine referee Nestor Pitana, who, coincidentally, was the official in charge of France's quarter-final 2014 defeat.

The Barcelona star was partnered by Cristhian Stuani, after a week of will-he-won't-he speculation surrounding Cavani ended with the Paris Saint-Germain striker failing to recover from a calf strain.

Without Cavani, Uruguay posed little threat.

A tight and nervy game burst into life after Varane's goal.

Until that point Uruguay had struggled to get into the French penalty area, but within four minutes of the goal would have been level except for an exceptional save by Hugo Lloris.

The French skipper saved superbly with one hand from defender Martin Caceres, whose header from a free kick look destined to go in.

Diego Godin could have scored from the follow-up, but that was the closest the South Americans would come to scoring all afternoon.

ADVERTISEMENT




POST A COMMENT

HOUSE RULES

1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed: advertising@jamaicaobserver.com.

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email: community@jamaicaobserver.com.

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy



comments powered by Disqus
ADVERTISEMENT

Poll

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon
ADVERTISEMENT