Friday, January 22, 2021

France 2-0 Uruguay: Match Review

France secured their qualification to the last four of the World Cup today with their victory over Uruguay. Despite never reaching the high-octane form which they showcased against Argentina, Les Bleus did enough to qualify today. Uruguay, however, now see their campaign come to an end.

France- Varane 40′, Griezmann 60′

Lloris, Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez, Pogba, Kante, Mbappe (Dembele 87′), Griezmann (Fekir 92′), Tolisso (Nzonzi 79′), Giroud

Uruguay

Muslera, Caceres, Godin, Gimenez, Laxalt, Nandez (Urretaviscaya 73′), Torreira, Bentacur (Rodriguez 59′), Vecino, Suarez, Stuani (Gomez 59′)

First Half

The first period of this game was relatively well-matched. Uruguay are up to their usual antics once again, with many instances of rough play. Sorry if I seem biased, but I’ll still never forget the robbery of Ghana in 2010. Still keeps me up at night. Nevertheless, some solid attacking and defensive play from both sides in this opening twenty minutes. France, however, did look like the more complete team, with many Uruguayan passes failing to find the intended recipient.

No clear cut chances marked the majority of the first half. There is no doubt that this was a contest of two very sound defensive teams. The question of which team would draw first blood still remained unclear at this point.

It would be France who would break this deadlock, after an Antoine Griezmann free-kick was nodded into the net by Real Madrid’s Raphael Varane. Absolutely lovely free-kick technique from Griezmann here, with the header just sneaking into the bottom right corner. A possibly paramount first goal for the French. With Edinson Cavani remaining on the bench, could Uruguay mount a comeback?

France by no means became complacent after this goal, with an excellent save by Hugo Lloris from a similar header to Varane’s keeping the odds in the favour of Les Bleus. A top stop from the French keeper. Uruguay might need to find something special here if they want to progress to the next round of this tournament. The French defense was completely solid throughout this first half.

That’s all she wrote for the first half of this game. Other than a Varane goal and an incredible Uruguay save, little of note happened during this first period of regulation. The future seems bright for France, however. Half time, France 1-1 Uruguay.

Second Half

The second half begins, and a crucial forty-five minutes lie ahead. France begin strongly, with a series of chances arising from set-pieces; the same manner in which their first goal was scored. Uruguay seem to be heavily struggling here. With no Cavani in the team, they lack that final finishing touch which he would usually provide. The South Americans really need to up their game here.

And a crucial mistake from Fernando Muslera may have sunk Uruguay here. A Griezmann shot from outside the box ricocheted of the hands of the seasoned keeper, and hopelessly bounces into the back of the net. On such a stage as this, mistakes like that simply cannot happen. Uruguay need an immediate response now, as their time may be quickly running short.

The Uruguayan players are in real danger of embarrassing themselves here, as they circle around an injured Kylian Mbappe like hyenas with the French having to hold them back. A second altercation then began between Pogba and a group of Uruguayan players. This truly is the magic of the World Cup. Primary school level altercations here.

Incredibly, Uruguay still seem to be asleep here. A Tolisso long-shot falls alarmingly close to the back of the net, while the South Americans still do not seem to pose any large threat. A quarter-final exit may be imminent for the nation here.

And with that, after a rather uneventful game, the final whistle blows. France have progressed to the Semi Finals of the 2018 World Cup. Full time, France 2-0 Uruguay.

The Lazy Fan View

France did not play at their complete best today. However, they did just enough to guarantee their place in the semi-finals of the tournament, which is what really mattered today. Antoine Griezmann had a great showing today, with Hugo Lloris providing a crucial save in the second half. My favourites to win the tournament will now be looking to their next game in their quest for the World Cup.

Not a good showing from Uruguay today, both in their footballing performance and their on-field conduct. France never looked truly threatened by the Uruguayan attack, inhibited by the loss of Edinson Cavani. Luis Suarez seemed invisible throughout the game, his only contributions being some comical tantrums when Uruguayan attacks were shut down. The previously solid Fernando Muslera struggled throughout this game, making a crucial mistake for the second French goal. Ultimately, the South Americans were outlasted today. Revenge for Ghana has been achieved.

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