July 6, 2018 / 4:34 PM / 14 days ago

Captain Godin lauds Uruguay 'lions', exonerates goalkeeper

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia (Reuters) - Uruguay captain Diego Godin praised his team mates as “lions” after reaching the World Cup quarter-finals but falling 2-0 to France, and said goalkeeper Fernando Muslera’s error for the second goal should be forgiven.

Soccer Football - World Cup - Quarter Final - Uruguay vs France - Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod, Russia - July 6, 2018 Uruguay's Diego Godin reacts REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff

“I’m proud of my team mates - they were lions,” Godin said, as he and the Uruguay players came off the pitch in tears.

“We are a team where everyone gives everything in the matches and in preparation. I have only words of gratitude for my team mates,” he added, as Uruguay’s noisy fans cheered them off at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium despite the defeat.

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France won with a Raphael Varane glancing header in the first half and a goalkeeping fumble in the second that gifted Antoine Griezmann a soft goal. Griezmann shot from outside the box straight at Muslera, who attempted to palm the ball away but instead deflected it into the net.

“Fernando is a great goalkeeper ... We all make mistakes,” Godin said. “On other occasions he has rescued us with incredible saves.”

Uruguay suffered without striker Edinson Cavani, who was ruled out with a calf injury.

France’s win set up a semi-final with either Brazil of Belgium.

Reporting by Brian Homewood; Writing by Andrew Cawthorne; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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