World Cup: Uruguay 0 France 2 - 5 things you need to know

France's players celebrate their second goal. PHOTO: AFP

It was anticipated to be a tight game in this World Cup quarter-final between Uruguay and France but as it turned out, the French cruised to a 2-0 victory to meet either Brazil or Belgium in the semi-final. Oscar Tabarez's team were dealt a massive blow when clinical striker Edinson Cavani was ruled out with a calf injury and in a final blow, goalkeeper Fernando Muslera made a terrible error to give away the killer second goal.

1. Goals

France (Raphael Varane 40th minute, Antoine Griezmann 61st)

2. The wow moment

Unfortunately for Uruguay, the defining moment of this game came at their cost. Usually reliable in goal and with more than 100 caps for his country, Muslera misjudged a shot from 25m out from Griezmann. The ball swerved slightly in the air and the goalkeeper tried to parry it but only ended up fumbling it across the line and that killed his country's hopes of a semi-final place.

3. The talking point

Even before a ball is kicked in anger in Nizhny Novgorod, it seemed France was already a goal up as news filtered through that Uruguay key player Edinson Cavani has not recovered from a calf injury and was not named in the match-day squad.

Without the powerful striker, who has three goals in this World Cup, Uruguay looked toothless and his strike partner Luis Suarez looked lost. Not surprisingly, the men in blue did not even register a shot on target in the second-half.

4. The star

He has been slightly overshadowed by the electrifying displays of Kylian Mbappe but while the teenager was relatively quiet against Uruguay, Griezmann stepped up in his status as a senior player with two big contributions to win the game.

First, he whipped a free-kick perfectly onto the path for Varane to guide his header home and later, the Atletico Madrid striker made his own luck with that Muslera blunder.

5. What the result means

France will march on to the semi-final on July 11 (Singapore time) where it will meet either Belgium or Brazil in St. Petersburg. From defence to attack, Didier Deschamps' team look well-balanced. They have the stars but also the work ethic and will be a strong favourite to lift their second world title, 20 years after Deschamps captained Les Bleus to their first.

As for Uruguay, the defeat marked a sad end to a wonderful crop of veterans. Muslera, Cavani, Suarez and Diego Godin are all in the 30s and this is like their last World Cup.

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