The quarter-final tie between Uruguay and France was billed as an equal encounter, with both teams having equal chance of victory. Uruguay headed into this game having defeated Portugal in the round of 16, and having conceded only one goal in World Cup 2018. On the other hand, France came into this tournament as one of the favorites, and had defeated Argentina in the previous round to back that claim.
Both the teams had enough ammunition in their ranks. But there was one man missing, and that absence proved costly for Uruguay. Edinson Cavani had scored both the goals in his side's 2-1 win over Portugal. Though, his happiness was short-lived, as he was forced off injured during the match. And having failed to recover, he saw Uruguay go down tamely against France.
It was a very odd display from the South Americans, who for some reason lacked the energy and drive. Their unbreakable defense was breached, and their threatening attack looked tame in the absence of Cavani, who was dearly missed by Luis Suarez.
France won the match 2-0, with Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann scoring the goals. Uruguay will be most disappointed by the manner in which the goals were scored.
The first goal came from a normal set-piece. Griezmann swung the ball in the box from a free kick deep on the right side. And Varane met it with a powerful header, much to the surprise of Uruguay fans, who are used to seeing their defenders win the aerial battles.
While the first goal could be forgiven, the second one puts a dark mark on Fernando Muslera's career. The Uruguay shot-stopper, inexplicably, allowed Griezmann's shot to creep in the goal. It wasn't the most fiercest of the shots, and neither was it close to the post. Griezmann's effort was right at Muslera, but the goalkeeper's weak palm let the ball go in the net.
It is true Uruguay were surprisingly poor. But nothing should be taken away from France. Their defense, just like it has been the whole tournament, was very neat and tidy, and snuffed out the dangerous Suarez. In midfield, Paul Pogba wasn't at his best, but his partner Ngolo Kante took responsibility by putting in yet another brilliant display.
The best part for France from this match though, was the return to form for Griezmann. The Atletico man had a very mediocre World Cup 2018 so far, but when it mattered, he delivered.
His link-up play and exchange with Kylian Mbappe was very pleasing on the eye. The goal was a cherry on top for such a wonderful display by Griezmann. With this win, France have made a statement that they are here to conquer. Having breached the 'unbreakable' Uruguayan defense, they have showed nothing is beyond their reach when they play well.