We have no king lamented the Uruguayans. Who would take us through this steep valley? This battle has turned into a war, a war with defeat inevitably staring into our eyes. Nizhy Novgorad stadium is where the battle lines would be drawn. Let us try to imbibe a winning mentality, after all anything is possible on Putin’s soil. Charged atmosphere. You just could feel the tension in the stands. On the field of play was nothing different. Paul Pogba, hands apart as if to ask for something with his gaze fixed towards the crystal clear skies of Russia was just asking for the mercies of Allah to guide him. Ghana’s bitter enemy (Luis Suarez), the architect of an act, that which robbed Ghanaian joy and a place at the semi-finals in 2010 looked nervous. His ever dependable strike partner Edinson Cavani was ruled out of the game with an injury. Well that explains his nerves and lamentations of the Uruguay fan base. Their understanding and telepathy was one to savour. Referee Nestor Pitana from Argentina whistles for the match to begin. A sea of blue shirts rush into every tackle. High pressing football. France respond with sharp incisive attacks, the end product lacking. Minute 13, and the South Americans are presented with an opportunity to go one up. Arsenal bound Lucas Torriera whipped in a corner from the right hand side. Heads of both nations rose to the occasion. One head to avert danger, the other to cause an upset. A Uruguayan head met the ball but the graceful gloves of Hugo Lloris fist it clear. France breathe a huge sigh of relief. Certainly they would not want to French kiss the competition goodbye at this stage. The next telling moment of the match fell to the 1998 champions. Revelation of the tournament Benjamin Pavard controlled a well-weighted pass on the right hand side. Faked to cut inside the opposing player then later run towards the bar line. He gingerly whipped in a delightful cross. There to meet it was Olivier Giroud who carefully nudged it towards Mbappe but the teenager just would not wait for the ball to sit, heading it millimeters over the bar. The game seemed to end stalemate at half-time before a breakthrough duly arrived. Rodrigo Bentancur’s seemingly needless tackle earned France a free kick. The Juventus man was booked. A second yellow card ruling him out of any possible semi-final clash. There was no semi-final for Bentancur to worry about as Uruguay were bundled out. I reckon they had run out of data to survive this world cup network. Atletico Madrid’s arrowhead Antoine Griezmann stood over the free kick. Six white shirts flung the Uruguayan penalty box. A startled run up then he lets one go. The unlikeliest of goal scorers Raphael Varane soared high up above and headed home the sucker punch for Uruguay. Invigorated and revitalized by the veteran Oscar Tabarez, Uruguay started the second half strongly. There was a strong sense of urgency about their play. Every attack was well orchestrated with the hope of drawing parity. Their frustration began to intensify with the antics of Kylian Mbappe. The pacy forward made a meal out of every tackle to the uttermost despair of captain Diego Godin. Frustration turned into shame for goalkeeper Fernando Muslera. He joined the ‘preKarius’ group of goalkeepers at the world cup. Griezmann’s sixtieth minute shot seemed to be a routine save for the Galatasaray shot stopper but this was not the case. He fluffed his lines and saw the ball slip off his bright yellow gloves bouncing once then rolled to the back of the net. The French man did not wheel away in celebration. Is it because he said in a pre-game interview that he felt some part of him was Uruguayan or just out of respect to Muslera. His teammates thronged him with celebration as though they were school children who were promised little bars of chocolate by a teacher. Nevertheless it was that goal that sealed the fate of France and send them to Saint Petersburg for a semi-final berth with Belgium. For Uruguay it is just a return ticket back home to Montevideo. They would surely be greeted with rapturous cheers for having gone that far in the worlds biggest sporting event.