Final, 2-0 France: The referee blows the final whistle. France wins and advances to the 2018 World Cup semifinals.
France was clinical. Uruguay wasn’t. That was the difference between the teams Friday, as France’s Raphael Varane and Antoinne Griezmann scored on their team’s two shots on target. The game was a physical and mental battle more than anything else, and France edged Uruguay on both fronts by the narrowest of margins.
We also can view the game as a tale of two goalkeepers. The stunning save France’s Hugo Lloris made just before halftime changed the tenor of the game. Instead of going into the interval tied 1-1, France used the confidence its lead offered as a springboard to bigger things in the second half.
At the other end, Uruguay’s Fernando Muslera made perhaps the biggest blunder of World Cup 2018 when he batted in Griezmann’s strike. He was having a superb tournament before the quarterfinals, but reported personal issues might have factored into his stark performance decline. Spare a thought for him.
Uruguay also missed Edinson Cavani, whose calf injury prevented him from playing and left longtime strike partner Luis Suarez isolated and starved for service for much of the game. Will we ever see them in a World Cup again?
France has fulfilled its immense promise in reaching the semifinals for the first time in 12 years. A date with another global power undoubtedly beckons. Will Les Bleus conquer the world by winning its next two games? Time will tell.
Uruguay can leave Russia with heads held high.
Man of the Match: Griezmann continues to shine on soccer’s biggest stages.
Next up: Uruguay is going home. France will face either Brazil or Belgium at 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday in the semifinals.
That’s all for now, and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion coming up on NESN.com/soccer.
90th minute +3, 2-0 France: Antoine Griezmann departs, and Nabil Fekir replaces him in France’s third, and final, substitution.
90th minute, 2-0 France: There will be five minutes of stoppage time in the second half.
88th minute, 2-0 France: Ousmane Dembele enters, and Kylian Mbappe exits in France’s second substitution.
86th minute, 2-0 France: This crying Uruguay fan is just about everyone in his country right now.
79th minute, 2-0 France: Corentin Tolisso exits and Stephen N’Zonzi enters in France’s first substitution.
78th minute, 2-0 France: Uruguay is gambling desperately by committing more players to its attack and leaving France space to exploit.
73rd minute, 2-0 France: Uruguay makes its final substitution. Jonathan Urretaviscaya enters. Nahitan Nahitan exits.
73rd minute, 2-0 France: Corentin Tolisso curls a shot just high and wide of the top corner of France’s goal.
69th minute, 2-0 France: The referee shows Uruguay’s Cristian Rodriguez and France’s Kylian Mbappe yellow cards.
68th minute, 2-0 France: France’s Kylian Mbappe is down on the field in apparent pain, and Uruguay’s players are swarming the referee.
The internet has jokes about the Paris Saint-Germain starlet and his more illustrious teammate.
61st minute, 2-0 France: Antoine Griezmann will receive credit for doubling France’s lead, but Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera simply makes a mess of his save and punches the ball into his own goal.
Griezmann’s shot knuckled as it approached Uruguay’s goal, but Muslera still should have done better.
Griezmann knows he’s lucky, but the best players often create their own good fortune, and he’s one of them.
59th minute, 1-0 France: Uruguay makes a double substitution, with Maxi Gomez replacing the ineffective Christhian Stuani, and Cristian Rodriguez replacing Rodrigo Betancur, who was carrying a yellow card.
55th minute, 1-0 France: The second period has opened similar to how much of the first played out. The teams are closing down space quickly and challenging for every ball but making little of their possession or forays into the opponents’ half. That competitive spirit is stifling individual and collective quality in this contest. That’s not necessarily a bad thing.
46th minute, 1-0 France: The second half is under way.
Halftime, 1-0 France: That’s the end of the first half.
France has the edge thanks to Varane’s headed goal, Lloris’ heroics and Uruguay’s overall lack of punch. Varane’s goal doesn’t necessarily reflect France’s advantage on balance of play, as Uruguay is competing in every aspect. Instead, it represents the fine margins that often determine results at this level. Betancur’s bad tackle in a dangerous position allowed France to capitalize on a well-worked free-kick routine. This is an example of how the best teams punish mistakes.
Uruguay now must turn the tide of history.
And Les’ Bleus must prevent La Celeste from doing just that.
The effect of Edinson Cavani’s injury increases in intensity, as Uruguay certainly could do with an additional threat.
45th minute, 1-0 France: There will be two minutes of added time in the first half.
44th minute, 1-0 France: Hugo Lloris preserves France’s lead with a stunning save on Rodrigo Betancur’s header. Lloris then recovers his footing and blocks Diego Godin’s follow-up effort.
Lloris’ save arguably is the best of the World Cup.
40th minute, 1-0 France: Rafael Varane gives Les Bleus the lead on the ensuing free kick.
Antoine Griezmann curls his free kick into Uruguay’s penalty area for Varane, who glances a pinpoint header to the far post.
Varane’s latest goal for his country undoubtedly is the talented central defender’s biggest yet.
Varane also ends his country’s decades-long goal drought against Uruguay.
It’s just the second goal Uruguay has conceded at World Cup 2018.
38th minute, 0-0: The referee shows Rodrigo Betancur a yellow card for a mistimed tackle on France’s Corentin Tolisso.
Betancur, Uruguay’s left-sided midfielder, will miss the semifinal if his team progresses.
33rd minute, 0-0: The referee shows France’s Lucas Hernandez a yellow card for pulling the shirt of Uruguay’s Lucas Torreira.
30th minute, 0-0: More of the same. France hogs possession, Uruguay makes life hard for France with good positioning, focus and determination. France must use the wide spaces better in order to unlock this Uruguay defense.
20th minute, 0-0: Neither side has established a rhythm to its play, largely due to the physical nature of the contest. Nevertheless, the trend probably suits Uruguay, which is perfectly comfortable counter-attacking, more than it does the ball-dominant France team.
15th minute, 0-0: France’s Olivier Giroud heads a pass across the goal-mouth to Kylian Mbappe, who rises but fails to hit the target with his header.
11th minute, 0-0: France seems to have settled into the contest, which has taken the expected physical turn early on.
Fourth minute, 0-0: Uruguay creates early danger inside France’s penalty area with a series of quick crosses that catch France’s defenders flat-footed. Uruguay fails to register a shot on goal, but any nerves the young French team is feeling have emerged.
Kickoff: Uruguay vs. France is underway.
The anthems are finished. Watch them out below:
Pregame: The biggest storyline leading up to is Edinson Cavani’s absence from Uruguay’s starting lineup. The star striker injured his calf Saturday in his team’s Round of 16 win over Portugal and subsequently failed to recover in time to make the starting lineup against France. Some doubt he’ll play at all in this quarterfinal.
Cavani and Luis Suarez form one of the world’s deadliest striking partnerships. How will Suarez cope without his sidekick?
Christhian Stuani will start in Uruguay’s attack in Cavani’s normal place.
9:45 a.m. ET: Here are the starting lineups:
9:30 a.m. ET: The last eight in any competition often are pretty great.
France and Uruguay will look to prove their mettle when they face off Friday in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, in the quarterfinals of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The teams have genuine ambitions of winning the tournament, but they’ll need to outwit strong opposition like the kind they’ll confront at this stage in order to do so.
Both sides are unbeaten so far at World Cup 2018, with Uruguay boasting a perfect 4-0-0 record with seven goals scored and only one conceded. France is 3-0-1 with seven goals scored and three conceded.
The winner of this game will face either Belgium or Brazil in the semifinals.
France vs. Uruguay is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. Join us right here for all the action from Nizhny Novgorod.
Thumbnail photo via Tim Groothuis/USA TODAY Sports Images