#URUFRA: Griezmann strikes as France beat Uruguay to reach semi-final

Fernando Muslera fumbled Antoine Griezmann strike as France took a 2-0 lead

Fernando Muslera fumbled Antoine Griezmann strike as France took a 2-0 lead

Rafael Varane and Antoine Griezmann both scored as France beat Uruguay 2-0 to reach the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera will not forget the game in a hurry for his part in France’s second goal scored by Griezmann.

Muslera who was playing his 102 game for Uruguay fumbled Griezmann’s strike when it looked rather easy to catch or parry.

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In terms of excitement, this quarter-final tie did not come close to Les Bleus’ win over Argentina in the last 16 but will still be remembered for the contrasting fates of the two goalkeepers, with Hugo Lloris producing a contender for save of the tournament while his opposite number made a mistake that was even more memorable.

Raphael Varane headed France into a first-half lead from a free-kick that came straight off the training field, with Antoine Griezmann checking his run before delivering the perfect cross for the Real Madrid defender to glance home.

Uruguay, with injured striker Edinson Cavani failing to even make the bench, almost struck back immediately from a free-kick of their own, but Lloris produced a brilliant diving stop to deny Martin Caceres, before Diego Godin blasted the rebound over.

The second half started with France continuing to control possession, but they were gifted the goal that made certain of their victory.

There seemed little danger when Griezmann let fly from the edge of the area but Muslera misjudged the flight of the ball, flapped at the shot, and saw it loop slowly over the line.

Uruguay, roared on by their huge travelling support, threw bodies forward in the closing stages but could not seriously trouble Lloris again.

Their run of four successive victories is over, as well as their hopes of reaching the final in Moscow on 15 July.

It is France who march on, and they will face Brazil or Belgium in the semi-finals in St Petersburg on Tuesday. Those sides play their quarter-final later today (19:00 BST).

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