After contact with Rodriguez, Mbappe goes down, and that sets off both sides, as players tangle and there is shouting, pushing and shoving. Godin urges Mbappe to get to his feet. For a moment, it calms down, then starts up again. Yellow card for both Rodriguez and Mbappe.
France breaks with a four-on-four and Griezmann tries one from distance. It should be a relatively routine save for Muslera, but it hit his hands, pops up, goes over his head and into the goal. A goalkeeper howler!
From Gonzalo Higuain to Luis Suarez to Edinson Cavani, the modern generation of Uruguay has been a producer of world-class strikers. But with Cavani out, it was time to get his replacement, Cristhian Stuani. Stuani is a bit of a journeyman, bouncing around Italy, Spain and England before finding a home at Girona. He scored the 5th most goals in La Liga this season, behind guys like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. He made a number of substitute appearances for Uruguay at the last World Cup, and has been a regular on the national team for the last six years.
Despite being down a goal, that was a pretty good first half performance for Uruguay. They completely neutralized Kylian Mbappé, and snuffed out practically every dangerous-looking French attack, while getting a number of shots on goal at the other end of the field.
France 1-0. Griezmann takes the free kick off that foul, lofts it in, and Varane, rapidly become a hero rather than an unsung hero, rockets it in with his head.
We are 24 minutes in, and there have already been 11 fouls committed, six of them by Uruguay. No yellow cards yet, but with the rate players are slamming into each other a half second late, they’ve got to be coming.
For an unlikely star, look to defender Benjamin Pavard, a surprise call-up to the team and a surprise goalscorer against Argentina. Amazingly, it was the first goal of his career with his foot. “I’ve scored two goals with my head, but, I mean, I never score goals,” he said. It has been heavily speculated that Bayern Munich will sign Pavard next summer.
The teenager is in hot form and he was the first in 60 years to score two goals in a tournament. The last time it happened was in 1958 final when Pele scored twice against mighty Sweden in final.
Did you know that a Brazilian player hasn't scored a #WorldCup hat-trick since 1958? 🇧🇷At just 17 @Pele scored his only one in a semi-final against France ⚽️⚽️⚽️In our collection we have Pele's team tracksuit which he wore during the tournament in Sweden 🇸🇪 #BRABEL pic.twitter.com/wpwgomLs8K— FIFA Museum (@FIFAMuseum) July 6, 2018
It is probably the most nerve-wracking stage of the tournament, yes apart from the 'Finals'. It will be a battleground all-over Russia when the eight finalists fight for a berth in the semi-finals and get one more step closer to the ultimate glory.
The first match is between the tournament favourites France who go up against the stealy Uruguay. It will be followed by as Roberto Martinez quoted 'match of the tournament' - Belgium vs Brazil.