MOSCOW: Raphael Varane's glancing header and a goalkeeping blunder that gifted Antoine Griezmann a soft goal gave France a 2-0 victory over Uruguay in the first World Cup quarter final at Nizhny Novgorod on Friday and set them up for a blockbuster semi-final tie with Belgium.
Edinson Cavani's injury stifled Uruguay's attack leaving Luis Suarez on an island for the whole game. However, he found less space and openings against a well-fortified France. The French defence did their best to smother the Barcelona striker as his feeds from all over the pitch always seemed to be off target. As a result, he did not have a single shot for the game.
Being dominant right from the opening, Varane glanced home a Griezmann free-kick to open the scoring in the 40th minute of the game.
Soon after, Griezmann doubled France's advantage in the 61st minute - a moment to forget for Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.
Griezmann found space 25 yards out and fired in a shot that should have been routine for Muslera, but the ball slipped through his grasp and went into the net.
Without striker Edinson Cavani, who was out of the game post-injury, Uruguay didn't look in full spirit as they lacked behind France in terms of pace, agility and pass accuracy.
While it seemed that the game was heading towards a draw after the first 40 minutes, Varane's goal shifted the momentum to France's side after he received a Griezmann's inswinging free-kick from the right.
Uruguay almost founded an equalizer in similar fashion four minutes later, but Martin Caceres' header was brilliantly saved by France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris low to his right and Diego Godin hammered the rebound wildly over.
France will next take on either Belgium or Brazil in the semi-final at St Petersburg on Tuesday. (With inputs from ANI)
Image Credit: Times of India