Juventus
    Juventus
      07.07.2018 10:30 - in: FIFA World Cup S

      World Cup: France advance to semi-finals

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      Matuidi’s team reach the last four, while Bentancur’s Uruguay and Douglas Costa’s Brazil bow out of the tournament

      France secured their place in the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2006 by beating Uruguay 2-0 on Friday evening. The result confirmed that the Bianconeri would have at least one representative in the final four stage of the competition. 

      Blaise Matuidi – who sat out of yesterday’s match on a yellow card suspension – will be available for selection again when Les Bleus face Belgium next Tuesday in Saint Petersburg (20.00 CEST).

      On an evening of mixed Bianconeri fortunes, Uruguay and Rodrigo Bentancur’s excellent tournament came to an end at the hands of the French, who claimed victory through goals by Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann.

      Bentancur had started all five of the South American nation’s matches in Russia and he completed the highest number of Uruguay’s passes (78%) against France.

      Similarly, Douglas Costa – who had recovered in time from injury to make a substitute appearance yesterday – was one of the standout performers during Brazil’s 2-1 loss to Belgium later in the night.  

      Despite playing only the final 32 minutes of the match, Costa ended up having the most shots on target for Brazil (three), while one of his lightning quick dribbles led to Neymar’s shot, which required a magnificent Thibault Courtois save to prevent the five-time World Champions from equalizing at the death.

      Renato Augusto’s 76th-minute header had given hope of a comeback after Belgium had taken a 2-0 lead at half-time through Fernandinho’s own goal and Kevin De Bruyne’s powerful strike.

      Douglas Costa ended the tournament as the Brazilian player to boast the highest average of goalscoring chances: six per 90 minutes.

      Tonight it's the turn of Mario Mandzukic and Marko Pjaca's Croatia, who face off against the host nation, Russia, at 20.00 CEST in Sochi. A win for the Balkan nation would see them reach their first World Cup semi-final since 1998.

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