France Down Uruguay To Reach World Cup Semi-finals

Antoine Griezmann benefited from a blunder by keeper Fernando Muslera to seal a 2-0 victory over Uruguay and put France into the semi-finals of the World Cup.

Muslera allowed a shot from Griezmann from outside the area to slip through his hands in the 61st minute as France doubled their lead in Nizhny Novgorod.

Raphael Varane headed France ahead five minutes before the break when he rose to glance in a Griezmann free-kick following a rash challenge from behind by Rodrigo Bentancur on Corentin Tolisso.

Uruguay began well but clearly missed the link up play offered by Edinson Cavani, who failed to make the match squad following his calf injury in the last-16 2-1 victory over Portugal.

La Celeste worked hard to restrict France, who gradually dominated possession, and it seemed their best chance of scoring would come from a set-piece.

That proved the case before the break when Martin Caceres saw a header from a Lucas Torreira free-kick brilliantly saved by Hugo Lloris in goal.

The keeper stretched full length to his right to keep out the header and Diego Godin blazed high and wide on the follow-up.

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.

By that time the game was as good as over, with others in the French side this time the more influential. Their second goal began with a powerful run from Paul Pogba from his own half and a pass to Tolisso, who then fed Griezmann for his left-foot shot.

The Atletico Madrid forward, who makes no secret of his affinity for Uruguay and was up against two club team-mates in Godin and Jose Giminez, barely celebrated in view of the keeper’s error.

Tolisso, who had come into the side for the suspended Blaise Matuidi, then came close to a third with a shot from the edge of the box just over the bar.

But Les Bleus rarely looked in danger of conceding against a Uruguay side sorely missing Cavani, and must now wait for the day’s later game between Brazil and Belgium to know their semi-final opponents.

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