France made it to the World Cup semi-finals for the first time after 12 years since 2006 defeating Uruguay at the quarter-finals.
Goalkeeping howlers have been scarce at the World Cup but Fernando Muslera’s mistake proved fatal for Uruguay in their 2-0 quarter-final defeat by France on Friday just as much as a brilliant stop from Hugo Lloris kept his side ahead.
Antoine Griezmann’s long-range shot slipped through the Uruguay keeper’s fumbling hands just after the hour at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium to effectively seal the result for France and ensure their progress to the semi-finals.
For Muslera, there will likely be trauma for some time but, if it is any consolation to him, Uruguay were already behind to Raphael Varane’s goal and looking second best in the contest.
Lloris’s save determined the result. Not only did his save add to Uruguay’s frustrations but it kept intact the lead that France took in at halftime, giving them impetus to dominate in the second period.
Five-time world champions Brazil became the latest big name to bow out of the FIFA World Cup in Russia after losing 1-2 to Belgium in the second quarter-final at Kazan.
Belgium, one of the countries now being considered as title contenders, made their second last-four finish at the FIFA World Cup: the first time they reached the semi-finals was in 1986.
Belgium struck early and then held off a late Brazil fightback to send the five-times champions tumbling out of the World Cup at the quarter-final stage with a 2-1 victory in an end-to-end thriller on Friday.
A Fernandinho own goal and brilliant Kevin De Bruyne strike, after Thiago Silva had hit the post for Brazil, earned Belgium a date with neighbors France in St Petersburg on Tuesday, their second trip to the last four at a World Cup after 1986.
Brazil will depart at the last eight stage for the third time in the last four World Cups despite the best efforts of talismanic forward Neymar, who followed Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo out of the tournament.
They go out with their heads held high, though, after leaving everything on the pitch as they chased an equalizer in the last 14 minutes of the match in the wake of substitute Renato Augusto’s fine headed goal.