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2018 FIFA World Cup | France vs Uruguay: Les Blues cruise into semis

The 1998 winners eked out a 2-0 victory over the two-time champions thanks to goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann.

SNS | New Delhi |

A Uruguay side bereft of the prolific Edinson Cavani were largely toothless in attack and they proved to be no match for France in the first quarter-final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, losing 2-0 to Les Blues at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium on Friday night.

With El Matador out of the tie with a hamstring injury, Luis Suarez had it all to do against a France side brimming with talent in every department.

After Kylian Mbappe’s heroics against Argentine in the last-16, all eyes were on the teenager but it was Raphael Varane who would break the deadlock in the first-half.

As Blaise Matuidi was suspended, Corentin Tolisso came into the side and the Bayern Munich man won a free-kick out wide in the 39th minute.

Antoine Griezmann stepped up and his pin-point delivery was headed into the goal by the lithe Varane to get Didier Deschamps’men going.

Uruguay had started the tie on the front foot, but with Hugo Lloris holding firm, France weathered the early storm and managed to get that vital lead going into the interval.

The key moment in the side came right at the end of the opening period, with Lloris earning his keep with an outstanding save to deny Martin Caceres from heading in the equaliser.

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Suarez looked out of ideas, as did his offensive-minded teammates, in the second-half as well and the tie was effectively done and dusted when Griezmann doubled the 1998 winners’ lead thanks to a howler from Fernando Muslera.

The South American has had a fine tournament right until that moment when Griezmann’s speculative shot from outside the box somehow connected with his glove but instead of getting to safety, bounced into his own net.

Oscar Tabarez had already begun to ring in the changes, but none of his second-half introductions had the desired effect and France held on with relative ease to reach the semi-finals.

There was a fractious ending to the tie, however, with Mbappe’s perceived showboating riling up the Uruguayans and thankfully, before anyone got sent off, match referee Nestor Pitana took charge of the situation.

Brazil take on Belgium in the second quarter-final on the night and the winner of that tie will take on Les Blues on Tuesday night.