France move onto the next round of the FIFA World Cup 2018 as their fans chanted “Oui oui oui!”… Um, not really. But that’s all the French I know. They beat Uruguay 2-0 in the quarter finals to book a place in the semis which will be against either Brazil or Belgium depending on the winner of the next game.
This was one of the more uneventful games of the world cup so far. There were no surprises of any sort, neither were there any twists or turns in the game. Edinson Cavani who was taken off in the round of 16 game against Portugal, did not recover in time to start. Christian Stuani started in place of him. Despite that, Uruguay started the game on the front foot. France scored with their first actual attempt on goal when a clever Griezmann freekick found Varane’s head in the box to make it 1-0. Diego Godin missed a brilliant opportunity when he missed a shot from close range after Lloris pulled off an amazing save.
The game was steady and going alright until Griezmann took a ferocious shot from outside the box. What is usually considered a routine save for a goalkeeper of Fernando Muslera’s calibre, was actually botched. The shot-stopper blocked the ball but the rebound fell in the goal. That was the final nail in the coffin as Uruguayan players had mentally given up on their spot in the semi finals.
So with that, the final whistle blew and confirmed France’s promotion to the next stage of the competition. Let us see how the players fared with their player ratings:
|Image Source: Hindustan Times|
Let us start with the team wearing the home kit – Uruguay:
Fernando Muslera – 3/10
It was very unlikely for a player like him to give away such an unfortunate goal. However his error was extremely costly as it came when Uruguay were pressing high on the pitch.
Martin Caceres – 6/10
He did a fairly decent job at right back and kept Tolisso quiet throughout the game. He came close to scoring in the first half but a fine save from Lloris kept his effort out.
Jose Gimenez – 6/10
Gimenez was average today. He was given the role of ball playing center-back today but did not live up to Tabarez’s hopes.
Diego Godin – 6/10
He did a good job defensively but missed a brilliant chance in the first half which would have been the equilizer. However, it is tough to blame him as he was still halfway in his follow through.
Diego Laxalt – 6/10
Laxalt has had a really good World Cup but was again not good enough going forward. The runs were there, the final ball was not.
Lucas Torreira – 6.5/10
Torreira was good while taking set pieces from the middle third. One was almost a assist but was kept out.
Nahitan Nandez – 5/10
Had no major impact throughout the game and mostly anonymous.
Matias Vecino – 5/10
Like his counterpart on the other flank, Vecino was also very anonymous throughout the entire game.
Rodrigo Bentacur – 4.5/10
He had a poor game in general, was given a yellow card and taken off pretty early in the game.
Luis Suarez – 7/10
He was the only Uruguayan player who tried a lot. He pressed deep and tried to win the ball but Kante made sure he was having none of that.
Christian Stuani – 4/10
The former Middlesbrough striker had a very very poor game. He was taking shots way off target and Uruguay really missed Cavani today.
Huge Lloris – 8/10
The Spurs keeper was amazing today. He made a couple of tough saves and was reliable when his country needed him.
Benjamin Pavard – 8/10
He kept a clean sheet and linked up well with Mbappe. Pavard has been a great revelation this World Cup. No wonder Bayern Munich are tapping him up.
Raphael Varane – 9/10
Varane was excellent today. He kept out the threat of Luis Suarez and also scored the opening goal to give France the lead. The Real Madrid man stepped up to the occasion when called upon.
Samuel Umtiti – 8/10
Umtiti also did a great job next to Varane. Especially because he played with his knee strapped in bandages.
Lucas Hernandez – 8/10
Hernandez did his job to perfection. He was a constant threat on the left hand side, however Tolisso did not make use of the overlapping runs well enough.
N’golo Kante – 9/10
Kante was the man of the match today. He was everywhere and it was like France were playing with an extra man in midfield. He won back balls that would have otherwise been a scoring chance for Uruguay and hence played an instrumental role.
Paul Pogba – 7/10
Today was a quiet day at the office for Paul Pogba. When I say quiet, I do not mean that he did not play well. I mean he was not spectacular. He passed the ball around from outside the Uruguayan box which proved necessary as the South Americans were committing men in the box.
Kylian Mbappe – 6/10
Mbappe played a very good game and his explosive pace was very difficult to defend against. However, I have given him a 6 because of the shameless dive he did today. It was unnecessary and Neymar-esque. We do not need more of that in the game.
Antoine Griezmann – 9/10
He got a goal and assist today. Peach of a player and stepped up when needed.
Corentin Tolisso – 7/10
He had a quiet game today, however his 5 yard pass to Griezmann was still counted as an assist. He could have used the left flank better.
Olivier Giroud – 8/10
Apart from scoring great headers, if there is anything Giroud is good at, it is link up play. Today again he was great and his link up enabled Griezmann the space and freedom he likes.
So those were the ratings of the first quarter finals. Now we go on to see whom France face in the semi finals of the FIFA World Cup 2018. So now, I’m off to watch the Belgium vs Brazil game!