FIFA World Cup 2018 quarterfinals: France, Belgium beat Uruguay, Brazil

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Monday, July 9, 2018

On Friday, France defeated Uruguay 2–0 in the FIFA football World Cup quarter-finals and Brazil lost 1–2 against Belgium. With this defeat only countries from the UEFA Confederation are now remaining in the tournament.

France vs Uruguay

France faced Uruguay at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. The French side had better ball possession. Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani was rested for the match and Luis Suárez faced his FC Barcelona teammate Samuel Umtiti in the quarter-final clash. Both the sides had early attempts to open the scoring. Uruguay blocked N'Golo Kanté's 12th-minute attempt for a goal. Three minutes later, Kylian Mbappé missed a chance from Olivier Giroud's pass to put France in the lead. In the 19th minute, Paul Pogba also had an attempt for goal but went wide. France opened the scoring in the 40th minute when Raphaël Varane scored a header from Antoine Griezmann's assist. Minutes before the half-time, Hugo Lloris saved a shot preventing Uruguay from equalising, and Diego Godín missed a close-range shot. The first half ended with France having a one-goal lead.

In the second half, just after the one-hour mark, Griezmann doubled the lead for France, scoring a goal from outside the penalty area from Corentin Tolisso's assist. In the final ten minutes of the 90-minute play, French side made two substitutions, as Steven N'Zonzi and Ousmane Dembélé replaced Tolisso and Mbappé. The match ended 2–0.

After the match, France's coach Didier Deschamps said, "We had done something big against Argentina and today we have again raised our level. I have a good team that still has plenty of room for improvement. You can see our lack of experience sometimes, but we have so many qualities too."

Uruguayan coach Óscar Tabárez said, "The boys really gave everything, but France were able to control the match very well. After the second goal, there was a huge gap between the teams."

With this victory, UEFA Euro 2016-finalists France reached the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup for the sixth time.

Brazil vs Belgium

Brazil faced Belgium at the Kazan Arena. After Uruguay's defeat against France, Brazil was the only South American nation left in the tournament. The South Americans had better ball possession. In the 8th minute, Brazilian captain Thiago Silva missed a chance to open the scoring as his header rebounded from the goalpost. Belgian defender Vincent Kompany missed a header in the 13th minute from Nacer Chadli assist, but Fernandinho scored an own goal, giving Belgium an early lead. A couple of minutes later, Gabriel Jesus had an attempt to equalise, from Neymar's assist, but the shot was blocked. Marcelo also attempted for a goal in the 26th minute but was saved.

In the 31st minute, Kevin De Bruyne scored from outside the penalty area, doubling the lead for Belgium, assisted by Romelu Lukaku. Six minutes later, Belgian goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois saved a long-range shot by Philippe Coutinho. The first half ended and Belgium had a two-goal advantage.

At the start of the second half, Brazil made a substitution as Roberto Firmino replaced Willian. Paulinho had an attempt in the 55th minute. Paulinho was substituted off in the 73rd minute for Renato Augusto and just three minutes after coming on, Augusto scored the first goal for Brazil in the 76th minute. Chadli was subbed off in the 83rd minute due to injury and was replaced by Thomas Vermaelen. Brazil tried to score an equaliser, but the match ended 2–1 as Belgium advanced to the semi-final.

After the match, Belgium's coach Roberto Martinez said, "Brazil have so much finesse and you know that they can cut you open. But I didn't think for one second that the players would give up. They've done something special and I hope everyone in Belgium is very, very proud. It has created a nice memory and we should treasure it. But now we need more energy for our next game to try to make sure we're just as good in the semi-finals."

Brazil's coach Tite said, ""I thought it was a great match and we had a lot of it, with plenty of possession and a lot of opportunities. But Belgium were more effective in converting their opportunities. They have a lot of top players and finished well. Thibaut Courtois also made a real difference. For all the pain I feel right now, if you like football, you have to watch this game. It's going to give you pleasure."

Belgium is now scheduled to face France in the semi-finals.

July 6, 2018
1700 MSK (UTC+0300)
Uruguay 0–2 France Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia
Attendance: 43,319
Referee: Néstor Pitana (Argentina)
Rodrigo Bentancur Booked after 38 minutes 38'
Cristian Rodríguez Booked after 69 minutes 69'
0–1 (HT) Raphaël Varane Scored after 40 minutes 40'
Antoine Griezmann Scored after 61 minutes 61'
Lucas Hernández Booked after 33 minutes 33'
Kylian Mbappé Booked after 69 minutes 69'

July 6, 2018
2100 MSK (UTC+0300)
Brazil 1–2 Belgium Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia
Attendance: 42,873
Referee: Milorad Mažić (Serbia)
Renato Augusto Scored after 76 minutes 76'
Fernandinho Booked after 85 minutes 85'
Fangar Booked after 90 minutes 90'
0–2 (HT) Fernandinho Scored after 13 minutes 13' (o.g.)
Kevin De Bruyne Scored after 31 minutes 31'
Toby Alderweireld Booked after 47 minutes 47'
Thomas Meunier Booked after 71 minutes 71'