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World Cup

France, Uruguay rub shoulders for the first time in a World Cup knock-out game for a place in the semis

France takes on Uruguay in the 2018 World Cup quarter finals on Friday

FIFA World cup 2018

Uruguay vs France

Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Russia

Friday, 06-07-2018 @05:00pm

France and Uruguay will face off for the fourth time in a World Cup game but a first at the knock-out stages.

Both sides breezed through their respective groups before eliminating two of the greatest footballers ever, in their round of 16 respective matches.

Uruguay eliminated Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal while France won a 4-3 thriller against an Argentina side that is captained by Lionel Messi.

Both sides know what a hard task it will be to reach the finals as the winner faces-off with either Brazil or Belgium in the semi finals but thoughts of the next game will be put to halt as a one mighty opponent stares into the eyes of the other on Friday afternoon.

Uruguay’s in-form striker Edinson Cavani is expected to miss this match with the calf injury he suffered in their win over Portugal so former forward Cristhian Stuani is expected to be drafted in to play alongside Luis Suarez.

France coach Didier Deschamps must decide who replaces the suspended Blaise Matuidi in midfield but Corentin Tolisso appears to be the front runner, having started their opening match against Australia.

What they are saying ahead of the game:

Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez:

“France’s strongest points are the attackers, (Antoine) Griezmann and (Kylian) Mbappe.

“If you let France have space it will be very difficult.

France head coach Didier Deschamps:

“I am preparing my team for if Cavani plays.

“If he plays or not, I will only know 90 minutes before the game.

“They (Uruguay) have so many assets, so many qualities.

“They defend as a unit, they play together and they love to do that.

Match Facts:

-The last two World Cup meetings between France and Uruguay have both ended 0-0 in the group stage in 2002 and 2010 however Uruguay beat the French 2-1 in 1966.

-The Uruguayans won the last encounter 1-0 in June 2013. Luis Suarez scored the winner in a friendly in Montevideo.

-France’s only victory over Uruguay in eight previous matches was a 2-0 win in a friendly in Paris in August 1985.

-Uruguay could equal a national record by winning five consecutive games at a single World Cup. The last time they won their opening four games was in 1930, which was enough to win the tournament.

-They are aiming to make the semi-finals for a fifth time and for the second time in the last three tournaments.

-La Celeste have won their last two quarter-finals in 1970 and 2010. Their last defeat at this stage came in 1966 when they lost 4-0 to West Germany.

-Of Edinson Cavani’s 45 international goals, 12 have been assisted by Luis Suarez.

-Since 1966, only Poland’s Grzegorz Lato and Andrzej Szarmach and Germany’s Michael Ballack and Miroslav Klose (both five) have combined for more World Cup goals than Cavani and Suarez’s four.

-Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera has kept three clean sheets in four games and has made a total of 10 saves so far.

France are aiming to reach the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2006.

-France progressed from four consecutive World Cup quarter-finals until losing to Germany at the 2014 tournament.

-They are unbeaten in their last nine World Cup matches against South American sides (W5, D4), keeping a clean sheet in seven of those games.

-Kylian Mbappe has scored three goals so far this tournament – he is the first teenager to score this many in a World Cup campaign since Pele netted six for Brazil in 1958.

-Only Pele and Germany’s Edmund Conen (four goals in 1934) have scored more as a teenager.

-Antoine Griezmann has scored six goals in his last five appearances in the knockout stage of major tournaments (World Cup and European Championship).

-But he has just two goals from 12 attempts in Russia so far and both were penalties.

-France are unbeaten in every game in which Griezmann has scored (W17, D2)

Also Read: Belgium stand in the way of Brazil’s sixth World Cup ambitions

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