Didier Deschamps' France midfield not thrilling but starting to click as Uruguay are dispatched

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A thoroughly professional performance earned France a place in the World Cup semi-finals as they beat Uruguay 2-0.

Raphael Varane headed in the opener five minutes before half-time from Antoine Griezmann’s free-kick before the Atletico Madrid star added a second in the 61st minute when Fernando Muslera flapped at his effort from range.

Here’s a look at how they gained the tactical edge over their opponents.

BASIC STATS

Goals – 2

Shots – 11

Possession – 62%

Tackles – 18

Dribbles – 13

30-SECOND REPORT

The game got off to a surprisingly lively start but France were well equipped to deal with Uruguay’s attack, which was missing Edinson Cavani through injury. Deschamps’ side gradually took control of possession and the game.

With Luis Suarez dropping deep to receive the ball and Uruguay operating in a diamond midfield, France had little to deal with in terms of runners in behind. Les Bleus weren’t too adventurous themselves, trusting their forwards to hit the back of the net, making things increasingly comfortable at the back.

France's front-line did enough to win the game.

France’s front-line did enough to win the game.

TACTICAL TALKING POINT

Midfield dynamic

Deschamps has received plenty of criticism for some of the systems he’s deployed, including France’s 4-2-3-1 formation that was used again on Friday. To his credit though, he seems to have made a few tweaks that’s encouraged a bit more fluidity.

Despite Blaise Matuidi’s absence, Deschamps was determined to stick with the system and used Corentin Tolisso in his stead. The midfielder played on the left but often tucked in alongside N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba.

The set-up not only made them more formidable in the middle of the park but also allowed the Manchester United player to venture forward and link-up with the likes of Kylian Mbappe and Griezmann.

Didier Deschamps turned to Corentin Tolisso in Blaise Matuidi's absence.

Didier Deschamps turned to Corentin Tolisso in Blaise Matuidi’s absence.

VERDICT

Gareth Southgate has never been this popular and his stock will only rise if he takes England to the semi-finals. Deschamps has guided France to the final four, but you sense that’s only made him more tolerable. His team didn’t thrill against Uruguay, but there was a distinct upgrade in cohesion. It’s not pretty, but ever so efficient.

Rating – 6/10

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