Despite dominating the first 45 minutes, France was shut out after a strong performance from Uruguayan keeper Nestor Fernando Muslera and had no answer for second-half substitute Luis Suarez, whose goal in the 50th minute was enough to give Uruguay a 1-0 win.
It was Uruguay's Martin Caceres who had the game's first golden opportunity in the 10th minute, one of the few bright moments in a rough half for the South American team. After Diego Forlán sent a cross into the box, the defender rose high to meet it with his head but sent his effort just over the bar.
Just two minutes later, Mathieu Valbuena was denied by Nestor Fernando Musler. The midfielder found room to shoot and sent a blistering shot on goal, but Uruguay's keeper was up to the challenge.
France continued to test the Uruguayan defense. Yoann Gourcuff found Blaise Matuidi in a promising position in the 21st minute, but the French captain's shot went sailing over the bar.
Payet nearly struck in the 31st minute. After a cheeky touch put him in shooting position outside of the box, he ripped a curling effort that looked certain to reach the net. But Muslera made a brilliant save, extending to full width to knock the effort to safety.
Muslera was the Man of the Match in the first half, as he once again denied a bright French attack in the 39th minute, this time thwarting a two-on-one after Gourcuff was played into the clear on the left side of the box. But the Frenchman couldn't get the ball off his feet and Muslera came sliding in to scoop up the ball and end the threat.
While France couldn't score, the team clearly controlled things in the first half and mostly reduced the dangerous Uruguayan attackers, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlán, to the role of spectator.
It was a moment of brilliance from Suarez, something he showed plenty of this season for Liverpool. And it seemed to completely alter the momentum, as Uruguay was suddenly buzzing and testing the French defense.
Against the run of play, Yohan Cabaye nearly equalized just three minutes after being subbed into the game in the 79th minute, but his half-volley would just sneak past the post and out of play.
Uruguay nearly made it two in the 82nd minute, but Mandanda would reject Gastón Ramírez's shot to the lower left corner on the counter-attack.
And that's how it would end, as France simply couldn't replicate it's first-half form and find an equalizer.
Nestor Fernando Muslera, Uruguay: A
At the very least, he was the first-half Man of the Match. He had several brilliant saves to reject France, which were clearly the brighter side in the first half. He wasn't nearly as tested in the second 45, but when called upon was an impenetrable force in the box.
Dimitrie Payet, France: B+
Payet was in the middle of everything in the first half, spearheading France's attack and sending a handful of shots on goal. Unfortunately, the midfielder didn't quite have the final bit of class needed to score, but he was truly excellent in the first 45.
Who was the Man of the Match?
Luis Suarez, Uruguay: A
Without question, Suarez was the second-half Man of the match. His presence seemed to jolt Uruguay to life, as his potent runs and presence in the attack left France on the back foot. His goal was a thing of beauty and he certainly made his value apparent to the national team with this performance.
Laurent Koscielny, France: B+
Much like he was for Arsenal during the season, Koscielny was a rock in the middle for France, stifling Edinson Cavani in the first half and making several key tackles in dangerous areas once Uruguay ratcheted up its pressure in the second half. At this point, Koscielny is an automatic selection for this squad.
|Nestor Fernando Muslera||A|
|Diego Lugano (Off 46')||C|
|Nicolás Lodeiro (Off 46')||C-|
|Egidio Arevalo Rios (Off 46')||C|
|Diego Forlán (Off 46')||C|
|Edinson Cavani (Off 65')||C+|
|F||Luis Suárez (On 46') ||A|
Sebastián Eguren (On 46') ||B-|
Gastón Ramírez (On 46') ||B|
Andrés Scotti (On 46') ||C+|
|F||Abel Hernandez (On 65') ||C+|
|M||Cristian Rodríguez (On 71')||C+|
The going won't get any easier for France, as the team now heads to Brazil for a friendly at the Grêmio Arena on June 9. Meanwhile, Uruguay has a key qualifier against Venezuela on June 11 before heading off to the Confederations Cup.