• France and Uruguay, fresh off eliminating Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo from the 2018 World Cup, meet in Nizhny Novgorod with the first berth in the semifinals at stake.
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How to watch: In the U.S., Telemundo and Fox Sports 1 have the broadcast at 10 a.m., but you can stream it here.
As Olivier Giroud writhes on the ground, a reminder: If you think Neymar is the only player who oversells his flops, keep a close eye on Luis Suarez today.
Uruguay in sky blue, France in white. Edinson Cavani is on the bench, but he could be used as a sub for Uruguay.
It’s the World Cup of soccer, but in a way it’s also the World Cup of national anthems, as the patriotic tunes get a workout before every game. You all have your favorites, but I vote for 1. France, Les Marseilles. To the barricades! 2. Germany, written by an actual good composer, Haydn. 3. Uruguay. So jaunty! 4. Russia, Stirring. Missing in action, sadly: Canada. — Victor Mather
We’ll have to see how it goes in the first half hour or so, but the absence of Cavani may be a bigger deal than we think. He and Suarez have formed a really well-connected partnership here, and breaking that up right before Uruguay’s biggest game yet is a potentially destabilizing moment. Both teams have solid center-back pairings, but if Cavani’s absence allows N’Golo Kante to focus his attentions exclusively on what Suarez is up to, that’s a big advantage for Les Bleus.
The Kylian Mbappé Show
Depending on how far France goes, Kylian Mbappe, just 19 years old, is staking a claim as the tournament’s best player. He has three goals and is standing out amongst France’s potent attacking lineup, which includes Antoine Griezmann (two goals), Paul Pogba, Olivier Giroud and Blaise Matuidi (suspended for this game). In the knockout victory over Argentina, Mbappe became the youngest player to score two goals in a World Cup game since, well, some guy named Pele.
France vs. Uruguay: The History
The last five matches between these teams have seen more red cards (two) than goals (one). That includes 0-0 draws in the group stages of both the 2002 and 2010 World Cups, with Thierry Henry earning a red card in the first and Nicholás Lodeiro in the second.
France’s Starting Lineup
Goalkeeper: 1 Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)
Defenders: 21 Lucas Hernandez (Atletico Madrid), 2 Benjamin Pavard (Stuttgart), 5 Samuel Umtiti (Barcelona), 4 Raphael Varane (Real Madrid)
Midfielders: 13 N’Golo Kante (Chelsea), 6 Paul Pogba (Manchester United), 12 Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: 9 Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), 7 Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), 10 Kylian Mbappe (Paris St Germain)
Bad News for Uruguay: Edinson Cavani Out
The lineup news is here, and it’s not good for Uruguay: Edinson Cavani is not named in the starting lineup. That puts a ton of pressure of Luis Suarez to score. Cristhian Stuani will also play up front for Uruguay.
Here’s Uruguay’s starting lineup:
Goalkeeper: 1 Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray)
Defenders: 3 Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), 2 Jose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid), 22 Martin Caceres (Lazio)
Midfielders: 8 Nahitan Nandez (Boca Juniors), 14 Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria), 15 Matias Vecino (Inter Milan), 6 Rodrigo Bentancur (Juventus), 17 Diego Laxalt (Genoa)
Forwards: 11 Cristhian Stuani (Girona), 9 Luis Suarez (Barcelona)
Uruguay’s Golden Generation
This is probably the last tournament of the Uruguyan golden generation that were 2010 World Cup semifinals, champions of South America in 2011 and have made the quarterfinals here. Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin, Fernando Muslera, Maxi Pereira and Martín Cáceres are all on the wrong side of 30.
Uruguay Strong on Defense
Uruguay’s one goal surrendered ties it with Brazil as the best defensive team at the Cup. Uruguay has the fewest yellow cards in the tournament, one, tied with eliminated Saudi Arabia.
France’s Unsung Hero
For an unlilkely star, look to defender Benjamin Pavard, a surprise call-up to the team and a surprise goal scorer 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.
France vs. Uruguay Top Story Lines
• France has been one of the more impressive teams at the World Cup, winning its group before eliminating Lionel Messi and Argentina in the round of 16, 4-3, in one of the games of the tournament.
• Uruguay was 3-for-3 in its group, not surrendering a goal, then beat Portugal, 2-1, sending Cristiano Ronaldo to the sidelines.
• Of Uruguay’s two big-name strikers, Luis Suarez was the first to strike, scoring in Games 2 and 3. But Edinson Cavani has surpassed him, tallying in the 90th minute of Game 3, then adding two more in the knockout game. He suffered a calf injury in that game, though, and is questionable for this one.
• France is bidding to return to the World Cup semifinals for the first time since 2006, the year that ended with a loss in the final to Italy and a Zinedine Zidane head butt. Uruguay last made the semifinals in 2010.
• France is considered the second favorite to win the tournament, after Brazil, and is a solid favorite in this game.