France will not be having a South American opponent for the third time in succession at the knockout stages of the World Cup after Belgium upset Tite’s Brazil to set up a semifinal with Les Bleus.
Roberto Martinez’s side stunned the South American giants, with an own goal from Fernandinho and a stunner from Kevin de Bruyne doing the business for them in Kazan.
France had beaten Uruguay in the last eight and seen off Argentina in the Round of 16. They also had Peru in their group.
Brazil’s elimination also means that this will be the first World Cup without one of them, Germany or Argentina in the semifinals since the tournament began.
France claimed the scalp of yet another South American nation as they beat Uruguay to advance to the last four of the World Cup. Les Bleus, who had beaten Argentina in the Round of 16, saw off Oscar Tabarez’s men in Nizhny Novgorod thanks to goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann.
Uruguay, who had eliminated Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in the Round of 16, were sluggish and lacked a cutting edge upfront, perhaps missing the services of Edinson Cavani, who was forced to watch this game from the sidelines.
France took the lead through Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, and doubled their advantage on the hour mark, when long serving Uruguayan keeper Fernando Muslera made a Karius-like howler and let Antoine Griezmann’s shot in.
France will now play the winner of the Belgium-Brazil quarterfinal and should the Samba Boys progress, as expected, will meet a third consecutive South American nation in the knockout stages of the tournament.
France 2 (Varane, Griezmann) Uruguay 0
Game played in front of 43.319 spectators at the Nizhny Novgorod stadium.
Man of the Match: Antoine Griezmann (France)
The first ever 4-3 game at a World Cup knockout stage clash (yes, the first ever game that finished with that scoreline!) saw France beat Argentina in a thriller and saw Lionel Messi and co. board the plane home after a thriller in Kazan.
Kylian Mbappe was the star of the evening with two goals, although Benjamin Pavard and Angel di Maria also scored fantastic individual efforts.
There was a brief period in the second half when Argentina lead 2-1, but France’s class shone though and while Sergio Aguero set up a nervy finale, few would argue that Les Bleus were deserved winners over the Albiceleste.
France 4 (Mbappe x2, Griezmann pen, Pavard) beat Argentina 3 (Di Maria, Mercado, Aguero)
France are sweating on the fitness of star forward Kylian Mbappe after the PSG striker was injured in training after a tackle from Adil Rami. The “ramifications” (apologies for the pun), could be huge, with Les Bleus set to open their World Cup campaign four days from now against the Socceroos.
Mbappe has been a key player for France and scored the only goal in their last match- a 1-1 draw against the United States in Lyon.
Rami was chosen for the French squad because Laurent Koscielny could not make it due to injury, leaving Deschamps requiring an experienced right footed defender amidst the prevalence of left footers in the squad. Continue reading