France added a third South American scalp to their collection, easing past Uruguay to take their place in the semi-finals - but the post-game narrative has been dominated by the ‘gamesmanship’ of French teen star Kylian Mbappe.
Have bested Peru in the group stages and Argentina in the round of 16, Uruguay are the latest victims as Didier Deschamps’ France marched into the next round thanks to goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann, the latter of which came from the latest in a series of howlers to afflict goalkeepers in this tournament.
It was a workmanlike performance from France, with N’Golo Kante again outstanding at heart of the French midfield.
Uruguay were shorn of their most influential player, with Edinson Cavani ruled out after the knee injury he suffered in his outstanding performance in the round of 16 tie with Portugal, and Luis Suarez struggled to make an impact on a game in which Uruguay’s hopes were pinned almost exclusively on him. The Barcelona man failed to make a touch of the ball in the French penalty box, a statistic which should tell you all you need to know about the game.
Kylian Mbappe, so electrifying in the tournament, didn’t quite reproduce the performance he put in in the last round against Argentina and was also subject to criticism for what some viewers considered to be playacting on the field.
Either way, France advance to the World Cup semi-final where they will play the winner of Friday’s mouth-watering tie between Brazil and Belgium.
Deary me, can’t imagine where Mbappe learnt that.— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) July 6, 2018
Mbappé in December: "I am learning every day from Neymar. I try to watch all the things he is doing in order to learn as quick as possible." pic.twitter.com/Jc5m3kX3BX— ODDSbible (@ODDSbible) July 6, 2018
🇫🇷 France is now unbeaten in 10 straight #WorldCup games vs South American teams (6-0-4), last losing in 1978 to Argentina.— Paul Carr (@PaulCarrTM) July 6, 2018
FT: #URU 0-2 #FRA. A step too far for Uruguay w/o Cavani. Suarez playing two players' roles up there made him effective at neither. Up against it, the last thing they need in that scenario is a Muslera error. Another good game at the #WorldCup from Pogba. Laxalt vs Mbappe was fun— Sam Tighe (@stighefootball) July 6, 2018
Kante has been exceptional again. So quick to close down danger, anticipates loose balls brilliantly and uses the ball intelligently. Has to be up there with Busquets and Casemiro as world's top three defensive mids, all in different ways.— Andy West (@andywest01) July 6, 2018