France is advancing to the semifinals for the first time since 2006. After fighting tooth and nail against a strong and well-disciplined Uruguayan, France was able to pull through. Uruguay showed a very valiant effort but they just couldn’t seem to get through.
Five things we saw from this match:
- France survived Uruguay’s defense: Coming into this game, the Uruguayan defense was the biggest about the team. A defense perfectly capable of launching counterattacks and foiling opposing attacking strategies. France somehow found a way to create some penetration and exploit its weaknesses. France managed to maintain 57 percent of ball control.
- Uruguay missed Edinson Cavani: It’s a shame that Uruguay was without their star striker, who did not start due to a calf injury. But Cavani or no Cavani, Uruguay was certainly capable of winning as Luis Suarez was available but it looked as if Suarez couldn’t exactly see eye-to-eye with Cristhian Stuani, who was filling in with Cavani. Uruguay’s attack looked lost and when they were able to threaten, they couldn’t pull through.
- France capitalized on an Uruguayan mistake: In the 61st minute, France’s Antoine Griezmann launched a left-footed shot from outside the box, which the Uruguayan goalkeeper managed to deflect, but in the process, accidentally deflected it into his own box. Although the goal was not registered as an own goal, it was still a crucial mistake by the goalkeeper. France took advantage of it and closed out the match.
- France’s goalkeeper made a game-changing save: French goalkeeper and team captain, Hugo Lloris played a major role in France’s victory. In the 44th minute, Uruguay was awarded a free kick and in the process had a golden opportunity to equalize via a header and while Uruguay did their part, so did Lloris as he made the crucial save. Lloris had his eye on in the direction of the ball and he was at the right place at the right time. Lloris earned his 102nd international cap and he knew he needed to make the most it.
- France played every minute: France managed to play the entire game, meaning they went the entire game focused and did not show any signs of letting their guard down. After taking the lead in the 40th minute, France avoided making the same mistake they did in the Round of 16 when they allowed Argentina to equalize shortly before the end of the first half. France basically told themselves, “We’re leading but the game’s not over yet and we haven’t finished and there’s all the time in the world left.” France was aware that if they let their guard down for one second, it could a very crucial mistake that would have changed the rhythm of the game. Uruguay could have taken advantage if France let their guard down.
France plays Belgium this coming Tuesday. Belgium managed to upset the Brazilians, so it’s safe to say that France has yet to overcome their toughest obstacle in the tournament. France is determined to win and advance to the final.