France lay ambush for Brazil-Belgium winner

July 6, 2018

Raphael Varane scored to give France the lead late in the first-half in their World Cup quarter-final clash with Uruguay

Raphael Varane scored to give France the lead late in the first-half in their World Cup quarter-final clash with Uruguay

 

The central defender jumps for joy after scoring the 41st-minute goal that handed France the lead in Nizhny Novgorod

The central defender jumps for joy after scoring the 41st-minute goal that handed France the lead in Nizhny Novgorod

 

Antoine Griezmann may like to sip yerba mate and hang out grilling meat with his Uruguayan chums but his loyalties were not in question as a goal and an assist fired France into the last-four of the World Cup.

Griezmann’s quandary had been one of the pre-match narratives since he once confessed to a deep affection forUruguay reinforced by his close friendship with Atletico Madrid teammates Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez.

Godin is godfather to his daughter but there was no room for sentiment in Nizhny Novgorod.

Varane stole a march on the Uruguay defenders to dispatch Antoine Griezmann's right-sided cross into the back of the net

Varane stole a march on the Uruguay defenders to dispatch Antoine Griezmann’s right-sided cross into the back of the net

 

The perfectly-placed header was the third goal Varane has scored for the France national team and came at a perfect time

The perfectly-placed header was the third goal Varane has scored for the France national team and came at a perfect time

 

Varane celebrates with team-mates Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe after opening the scoring for France in the quarter-final

Varane celebrates with team-mates Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe after opening the scoring for France in the quarter-final

 

Olivier Giroud celebrates with Varane while Griezmann grabs a drink after France take the lead in Nizhny Novgorod

Olivier Giroud celebrates with Varane while Griezmann grabs a drink after France take the lead in Nizhny Novgorod

 

The Uruguay defenders react with dismay after France take the lead five minutes before the end of the first-half 

The Uruguay defenders react with dismay after France take the lead five minutes before the end of the first-half

 

MATCH FACTS AND PLAYER RATINGS

Uruguay (4-3-1-2): Muslera 5; Caceres 6.5, Gimenez 6.5, Godin 6, Laxalt 6; Nandez 5 (Urretaviscaya 73, 5), Torreira 6, Vecino 6; Bentancur 6 (Rodriguez 59, 5); Suarez 6, Stuani 6 (Gomez 59, 5)

Subs not used: Campana, M. Silva; Varela, Sanchez, De Arrascaeta, G. Silva, Pereira, Coates

Booked: Bentancur, Rodriguez

Manager: Oscar Tabarez 6 

 

France (4-2-3-1): Lloris 7; Pavard 6.5, Varane 7, Umtiti 6.5, Hernandez 6; Kante 7, Pogba 6.5; Mbappe 6 (Dembele 88), Griezmann 7.5 (Fekir 90), Tolisso 7 (Nzonzi 80); Giroud 6.

Subs not used: Mandanda, Areola; Kimpembe, Lemar, Rami, Sidibe, Thauvin, Mendy

Goals: Varane 40; Griezmann 61

Booked: Hernandez, Mbappe

Manager: Didier Deschamps 7 

 

Referee: Nestor Pitana (Argentina) 6

 

Attendance: 43,319

Griezmann created the opener for Rafael Varane just before half-time and killed the Uruguayan fight when he scored the second from distance with the considerable help of a goalkeeping howler from Fernando Muslera.

It’s France who move onto a semi-final in Saint Petersburg.

Uruguay without the galloping force of Edinson Cavani up front were simply not able to damage France as they had Portugal in the previous round.

Cavani picked up a calf injury after scoring twice against the European champions and, after days of cloak and dagger shenanigans around his fitness, he was named on the bench and was not even fit enough to come on when they were chasing the game.

Without him, and for all their fabled fighting spirit, Uruguay did not seem to have the same belief.

Luis Suarez bustled around, barging into people and trying upset the rhythms of the game but this time the task was too great against a very strong France team and they knew all hope had gone.

Gimenez was in tears on the field even before fourth official had put the board up to show five minutes of stoppage time.

Cristhian Stuani, who came in for Cavani, was lively in the opening stages and Hugo Lloris had to be out alert to punch clear and stop him reaching a knock down from Gimenez following a corner.

France were without Blaise Matuidi, who was suspended. Corentin Tolisso came in to replace him.

It was a tense and fractious opening as it always promised to be and early chances were scarce.

France playmaker Griezmann lines up the swerving shot from distance that Fernando Muslera spilled into his net

France playmaker Griezmann lines up the swerving shot from distance that Fernando Muslera spilled into his net

 

 

Uruguay goalkeeper Muslera looks on in horror after he fumbles Griezmann's viciously swerving shot into his own net

Uruguay goalkeeper Muslera looks on in horror after he fumbles Griezmann’s viciously swerving shot into his own net

 

 

The long range strike by Griezmann proved too hot for Muslera to handle as he pushed the ball into the back of his own goal

The long range strike by Griezmann proved too hot for Muslera to handle as he pushed the ball into the back of his own goal

 

 

By the time Muslera had turned around to attempt to recover the calamity, it was too late with the ball over the goalline

 

 

France celebrates Griezmann's second goal on 61 minutes, which put them firmly in control of the quarter-final  showdown

France celebrates Griezmann’s second goal on 61 minutes, which put them firmly in control of the quarter-final  showdown

 

 

It was an horrendous moment for Muslera, who reacts with dismay after conceding a soft second goal in the quarter-final

It was an horrendous moment for Muslera, who reacts with dismay after conceding a soft second goal in the quarter-final

 

 

In five previous encounters between the two countries since 2002 there had been only one goal.

Kylian Mbappe showed glimpses of his devastating turn of pace but wasted the first clear opening of the game, mistiming a header on target when unmarked in front of goal and became flustered by Uruguay’s physical attention.

Lloris saved comfortably from Matias Vecino on the turn.

France dominated possession and took the lead, five minutes before half-time when a mistake in defence by Rodrigo Bentancur allowed Tolisso to steal the ball.

Bentancur’s attempted to regain possession quickly but his tackle was clumsy and felled the French midfielder.

Referee Nestor Pitana gave a free-kick and booked the Uruguayan, a yellow card which was met with a pained expression as Bentancur knew this would rule him out of the semi-final if his team were to make it.

Hugo Lloris made a superb one-handed save to deny Martin Caceres and preserve France's one-goal lead going into half-time

Hugo Lloris made a superb one-handed save to deny Martin Caceres and preserve France’s one-goal lead going into half-time

 

 

Diego Godin fires the follow-up over the bar after Lloris had denied Caceres with the initial effort on Friday afternoon

Diego Godin fires the follow-up over the bar after Lloris had denied Caceres with the initial effort on Friday afternoon

 

 

The France goalkeeper dives out to punch the ball clear as Uruguay striker Cristhian Stuani reaches for it inside the box

The France goalkeeper dives out to punch the ball clear as Uruguay striker Cristhian Stuani reaches for it inside the box

 

 

Les Bleus captain Lloris stretched out to clear the ball away from danger as Uruguay threatened an opening goal

Les Bleus captain Lloris stretched out to clear the ball away from danger as Uruguay threatened an opening goal

 

 

Uruguay goalkeeper Muslera comes out to ensure the ball clears his crossbar as his defenders watch on in Nizhny Novgorod

Uruguay goalkeeper Muslera comes out to ensure the ball clears his crossbar as his defenders watch on in Nizhny Novgorod

 

 

Griezmann addressed the free-kick and clipped it into the penalty area with his left foot.

Varane timed his run perfectly, away from Vecino and across the front of Stuani, he rose and glanced a header inside the far post at pace. Muslera had little chance with this one.

Uruguay responded with a positive flurry of intent before the interval and forced Lloris into a brilliant save.

Again from a set-piece, this time delivered by Lucas Torreira and won in the air by Martin Caceres. Lloris sprang to his right and kept the header out with a firm right hand.

Diego Godin crashed in to try and ram the rebound into the roof of the net but blazed the ball over.

Tempers flare during the second-half after France's Kylian Mbappe goes down and Uruguay's players protest to the referee

Tempers flare during the second-half after France’s Kylian Mbappe goes down and Uruguay’s players protest to the referee

 

 

A number of players from both sides became involved in the pushing and shoving as Mbappe lay on the floor holding his face

A number of players from both sides became involved in the pushing and shoving as Mbappe lay on the floor holding his face

 

 

Uruguay and France players scramble to get on the end of a high ball during the first-half of their contest in Nizhny Novgorod

Uruguay and France players scramble to get on the end of a high ball during the first-half of their contest in Nizhny Novgorod

 

 

Uruguay defender Jose Gimenez heads the ball towards goal alongside fellow defender Diego Godin in the opening half

Uruguay defender Jose Gimenez heads the ball towards goal alongside fellow defender Diego Godin in the opening half

 

 

Matias Vecino of Uruguay attempts to intercept a byline cross by the French right-back Benjamin Pavard on Friday

Matias Vecino of Uruguay attempts to intercept a byline cross by the French right-back Benjamin Pavard on Friday

 

 

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez falls to the turf clutching his right calf after a challenge from a France player during the first-half

Uruguay striker Luis Suarez falls to the turf clutching his right calf after a challenge from a France player during the first-half

 

 

Oscar Tabarez did not wait long into the second-half to make two changes but his team were soon two adrift following a dreadful mistake by goalkeeper Muslera.

Griezmann was about 25 yards from goal, out on the left when he took a short pass from Tolisso and was given all the time and space he required to line up a strike on goal.

He struck it sweetly but straight at the goalkeeper and although there may have been a slight wobble in flight Muslera really should have kept it out.

Instead he panicked, pushed his palms at the ball and helped it into the net.

In fairness to Griezmann, he seemed to take little delight in his goal, perhaps slightly embarrassed to see it slither in as well as sorry for his Uruguayan pals.

France striker Olivier Giroud sends Uruguay's Lucas Torreira flying as they contest the ball during the opening minutes 

France striker Olivier Giroud sends Uruguay’s Lucas Torreira flying as they contest the ball during the opening minutes

 

 

Rodrigo Bentancur manages to spin away from France's Griezmann in pursuit of the ball in midfield in Nizhny Novgorod

Rodrigo Bentancur manages to spin away from France’s Griezmann in pursuit of the ball in midfield in Nizhny Novgorod

 

 

 

Midfielder Paul Pogba challenges Stuani close to the touchline as France try and win the midfield battle against Uruguay

Midfielder Paul Pogba challenges Stuani close to the touchline as France try and win the midfield battle against Uruguay

 

 

Referee Nestor Pitana from Argentina gestures a word of warning in the direction of France midfielder N'Golo Kante 

Referee Nestor Pitana from Argentina gestures a word of warning in the direction of France midfielder N’Golo Kante

 

 

There was little goodwill extended elsewhere because from this point the niggly nature of the contest worsened, with France happy to run down the clock by milking every bit of late contact.

Nahitan Nandez left an elbow on Tolisso and Lucas Torreira was late on Benjamin Pavard.

A mass skirmish was triggered when Cristian Rodriguez nudged Mbappe and everyone waded in when the teenager overreacted.

Luis Suarez, ineffective without Cavani, was in the thick of it.

Referee Pitana settled the dispute with yellow cards for Mbappe and Rodriguez.

Uruguay fans fly the flag ahead of kick-off as their side attempted to make it through to the World Cup semi-finals in Russia

Uruguay fans fly the flag ahead of kick-off as their side attempted to make it through to the World Cup semi-finals in Russia

 

 

French fans make their voices heard in Nizhny Novgorod as the first of the four World Cup quarter-finals gets underway

French fans make their voices heard in Nizhny Novgorod as the first of the four World Cup quarter-finals gets underway

 

 

SOURCE: dailymail.co.uk


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