World Cup 2018: 3 reasons why Uruguay lost 0-2 to France
France sealed a semi-final spot in the FIFA World Cup for a sixth time in their rich footballing history, courtesy of a compelling 2-0 victory over Uruguay at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. A pin-point header from Raphael Varane combined with a howler from Fernando Muslera sent them through to the next round.
Uruguay were on the back foot even before their much-awaited quarterfinal commenced, as they were without their talisman in Edinson Cavani due to fitness issues.
The plans were charted out to the entire world from the first minute. They were in for a solid defensive display, where they would pin their faith on counter-attacks, crosses and set-pieces to boost their goal-scoring chances. Oscar Tabarez's side managed to stick to a solid shape throughout the game, but fell just short due to a lapse in concentration and an error from their number one.
The Frenchmen bossed possession but never really managed to settle in or gain a foothold. Uruguay threatened to break but lack of creativity proved to be their undoing.
Despite completing take-ons and lung-busting runs, Kylian Mbappe missed the game's first chance. Olivier Giroud cushioned a header towards him, but the 19-year-old spurned the chance by looping it over the post. On the back of smart movement in the box, Varane's excellent 40th-minute header granted France a much-needed lead.
Before the cusp of the half-time break, Hugo Lloris' full-stretch stop, which will go down as one of the best in this World Cup, denied Martin Caceres. The ball which fell kindly to Godin was then skied by the center-half, whose defensive instincts kicked in at the wrong end of the pitch.
Just when Uruguay were trying to engineer an opening, Muslera couldn't hold on or punch a curling Antoine Griezmann effort. Having doubled the lead against a side like Uruguay, France knew they are just 180 minutes away from lifting their second World Cup trophy.
Diego Godin and co. showcased their sturdiness and solidity in their World Cup campaign, but couldn't progress due to the lack of a killer's instinct at times.
Here are three reasons why they lost to Les Blues:
#1 Lack of service to the middle
First and foremost, the absence of Edinson Cavani turned out to be a body blow for La Celeste. His absence meant that Suarez would have a tougher job on his hands. The smart interchanges of play, clever little through balls, crosses and one-twos were sucked out of Uruguay's attack due to Cavani's unavailability.
They struggled to break through a resolute French back line through the middle, as it was screened by none other than N'Golo Kante, who, as many say, has batteries and not legs.
Poor service and inaccurate crosses implied that Suarez didn't have a sniff of the ball in the box. The Barcelona forward didn't quite showcase his exquisite movement either. As France did all the talking, his side were forced to drop deeper and deeper, which resulted in his isolation.
Stuani, who came into the side as a replacement for Cavani, failed to find a return pass to Suarez, link up play with him, or keep hold of the ball. Often, Suarez came off his lines to collect the ball and initiate an attack, which only added to his frustration.