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Reds in Russia: Pogba, Lukaku and Fellaini all progress into World Cup Semi-Finals

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Pogba puts in dominant performance while Fellaini and Lukaku have strong showings in win against Brazil

Uruguay v France: Quarter Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Photo by Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images

Uruguay 0-2 France

The first quarter-final game of the World Cup went the way of Les Bleus, after Didier Deschamps’ side beat Uruguay 2-0.

Manchester United’s Paul Pogba was an essential cog in the midfield. N’Golo Kanté was the midfield anchor that allowed Pogba to have more freedom going forward. It has been employed by the French manager throughout the World Cup campaign, and appears to have been a successful component of France’s creative success.

Pogba covered an immense amount of ground in today’s match-up, but Uruguay’s well-known defensive solidity capped the number six’s inventiveness. Pogba only offered a number of speculative efforts from distance.

However, France never looked like losing the game against a Uruguay team that lost the presence of the potent goalscorer Edison Cavani. Their first goal came via a Raphael Varane header, after Antoine Griezmann’s curling free-kick was flicked on by the Real Madrid defender.

The game was tense during the second-half, and chances few and far between until the hour mark. Griezmann’s speculative effort from outside the box somehow found its way past Fernando Muslera. The goalkeeper had a major blunder, letting the ball seep through his hands and into the back of the net.

Minutes later, Pogba was involved in a scuffle between the two sides, when Kylian Mbappé fell after contact from Cristian Rodriguez. The Uruguayans, frustrated with the two-goal deficit, lost their heads somewhat and minutes of drama ensued. Pogba grabbed midfielder Nahitan Nandez’s neck and pulled him down, but the Manchester United man escaped without punishment.

Pogba will now face Belgium in the World Cup semi-final next Tuesday.

Brazil 1-2 Belgium

Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini and Romelu Lukaku are through to the World Cup semi-final’s after a 2-1 win over Brazil.

Both Reds started the game, with the addition of Fellaini being a key reason in Belgium’s defensive tactics against a talented Brazil frontline. The big midfielder, alongside the other imposing physical presence of Axel Witsel, were defensively hounding Brazil’s creative players.

Belgium’s number nine and golden boot contender Romelu Lukaku also provided the Red Devils with another impressive performance.

His supreme strength, power and speed gave Brazil’s backline a torrid time all night, with his hold-up play being essential for the fast counter-attacking Belgium break-aways. Thirty minutes into the game, Kevin De Bruyne doubled Belgium’s lead with a superb strike. However, the chance would not have been possible if it wasn't for Lukaku’s surging forward running.

Brazil hit back with 15 minutes remaining on the clock and almost sent the game into extra-time but for a wonderful save from Thibaut Courtois.

Belgium’s win sets up a mouth-watering tie against France in the semi-final next Tuesday.