France comfortably cruised past Uruguay 2-0 at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Friday to qualify for the semi-finals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Goals from defender Raphael Varane and striker Antoine Griezmann in each half gave Les Blues the needed victory against their South American rivals, who had just conceded just a single goal prior to today’s game.
France began as the most purposeful team and dominated possession as they attacked the Uruguayan half relentlessly during the first half.
The pace of youngster Kylian Mbappe, the hero for Les Blues in the second round victory against Argentina, was tremendous for the Uruguayan left back, Diego Laxalt, to handle.
The breakthrough for France came in the 40th minute after Griezmann’s freekick just close to the box was superbly headed by Varane past goalkeeper Fernando Muslera and into the back of the net.
Uruguay tried to reply immediately in the 44th minute after a freekick played by Lucas Torreira was headed by Martin Caceres, but his effort was parried by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to the path of captain Diego Godin, who failed to convert the rebound.
France began the second half in the same attacking fashion as they did in the first and controlled the tempo of the game, to the disenchantment of their opponents.
In the 47th minute, Muslera attempted to clear away a back pass but hesitated for a while. His kick was, however, intercepted by the onrushing Griezmann, who hit the ball just outside the touchline.
And with one of their numerous forays forward, France extended their lead in the 61st minute after Griezmann hit a straight shot towards Muslera, but the ever-dependable goalkeeper fluffed his lines as he failed to punch the ball away properly and directed it into his own net.
Uruguay tried to fight their way back into the game but they were curtailed by a resilient French side, who were compact and denied the South Americans a clear chance to strike at their goal.
France now awaits the winner of Friday’s other quarterfinal game between Brazil and Belgium.