France are the first country to book their place in the semi finals of the 2018 World Cup after what was ultimately a comfortable 2-0 win over Uruguay in Nizhny Novgorod.
A first half header from Raphael Varane and a fortuitous second half strike from Antoine Griezmann were the difference on the day, while Uruguay struggled in an attacking capacity.
Varane’s goal shortly before half-time was actually France’s first attempt on target, such had been Uruguay’s tenacious defending and tight man marking throughout the opening 45 minutes.
Les Bleus had dominated possession and Uruguay, who it must be said missed injured front man Edinson Cavani, were happy to allow it. But the French had been unable to find a way through until an inch perfect free-kick from Griezmann was directed into the corner by Varane.
Uruguay almost struck back instantly, only for Martin Caceres’ header to be somehow palmed away by a sprawling Hugo Lloris at full stretch. Diego Godin then skied the rebound.
France’s second goal at the hour mark was the stuff of nightmares for Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera after failing to stop Griezmann’s long range effort, an horrific error reminiscent of Liverpool’s Loris Karius in the Champions League final in May.
Kylian Mbappe had been the star of the last 16 for France against Argentina but was much more peripheral in this one after being kept quiet by Diego Laxalt. His biggest involvement was an unsavoury confrontation with several Uruguay players after an apparent elbow from Cristian Rodriguez, with several minutes passing before the referee could regain control.
France were always in control of the game at 2-0 up. At that point, the onus was on Uruguay to try and get back into the game but the threat never really came and if there was going to be another goal in the game it actually looked more likely to come from the French in the end.
Les Bleus will now face Brazil or Belgium in what promises to be a grand slam semi final.
Uruguay: Muslera, Caceres, Godin, Gimenez, Laxalt, Nandez (Urretaviscaya – 73′), Vecino, Torreira, Bentancur (Rodriguez – 59′), Suarez, Stuani (Gomez – 59′)
France: Lloris, Pavard,Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez, Pogba, Kante, Tolisso (Nzonzi – 79′), Mbappe (Dembele – 88′), Griezmann (Fekir – 90+3′), Giroud