France booked their place in the World Cup semi-finals yesterday afternoon with a 2-0 win against a Uruguay team which struggled without Edinson Cavani. Raphael Varane scored the opener with a header from a corner prior to half-time, before Fernando Muslera got his hands mixed up to gift France a second goal after half-time, spilling Antoine Griezmann’s effort. The result means the tournament loses another star in Luis Suarez, but ‘I had him in the building’ Olivier Giroud continues after playing up front for the French throughout the victory.
Belgium defeated tournament favourites Brazil to set up a clash with France, two first goals coming from a Fernandinho own goal off his shoulder following a Vincent Kompany flicked-on header from a corner, and a powerful shot from Kevin De Bruyne after former Blue Romelu Lukaku’s powerful surge. Belgium handed starts to the heroes from the Japanese scare, ex-Toffee Marouane Fellaini and Nacer Chadli, and played Kevin De Bruyne in a more advanced role, and the decision from Mr. ‘Phenomenal’ Roberto Martinez, yet another former Everton man, reaped the rewards. Renato Augusto set up an interesting conclusion by pulling one back with 15 minutes to go, but Neymar and the Brazilians couldn’t find an equaliser.
The result means that the winners of the World Cup will be European, and should England overcome Sweden today and then either Croatia or Russia on Wednesday, they will face France or Belgium in the final.