Cavani double sends Uruguay to quarter-finals and Portugal home
URUGUAY 2 (Cavani 7’, 62’)
PORTUGAL 1 (Pepe 55’)
By Daniel Heinrich
Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani scored twice to book Uruguay’s place in the quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory in Sochi that ended Portugal’s World Cup.
Cavani’s opener came off the back of his own work, after he found strike partner Luis Suarez with a long pass. Suarez immediately crossed the ball into the box finding the head of an unmarked Cavani.
His second goal was equally impressive, curling a first-time shot from just inside the box into the right-hand corner of the net leaving Portugal’s keeper Rui Patricio with no chance.
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Cavani and Suarez showcased their strong partnership upfront, consistently asking questions of the Portuguese defence when Uruguay were in possession.
Cavani now has 44 goals for his country and the cross for his first goal in this match was the 12th time Suarez had provided an assist for his fellow striker in international football.
The Uruguayans also backed up their strikers’ strong attacking display with a sound defensive performance, giving the Portuguese attack little opportunity to score.
Uruguay’s only major defensive flaw came when Portuguese defender Pepe was left unmarked on a corner kick in the 55th minute and his powerful header put Portugal back on level terms.
Portugal dominated the game in terms of possession (61%) and total shots (20) but despite doing much of the running, could not penetrate the Uruguayan backline.
Portugal’s star forward Cristiano Ronaldo failed to make much of an impact during the match. Most of his shots were either blocked by Uruguayan defenders or failed to hit the target.
Despite an outstanding performance by Cavani, Uruguay coach Oscar Taberez was concerned for his striker’s fitness after he was forced from the field in the 73rd minute with a calf injury.
Cavani however said to the media after the game it was just a ”pinch” and he should be fit to play.
This is the first time Uruguay have won their opening four matches at a World Cup since 1930, where they won the tournament.
Uruguay will encounter France in the quarter-finals and will be looking to replicate this strong defensive performance to keep the French attack in-check .
France defeated Argentina 4-3 in the earlier match, showcasing their true attacking capabilities in front of goal.
Shot Attempts (On Target)
Uruguay- 6 (3)
Portugal- 20 (6)
Fouls Committed (Cards):
Uruguay- 13 (0)
Portugal- 13 (1 Yellow ‘Ronaldo’)
Uruguay: 1 F. Muslera (GK), 22 M. Caceres, 2 J.M Gimenez, 3 D. Godin (C), 17 D. Laxalt, 8 N. Nandez (80), 14 L. Torreira, 15 M. Vecino, 6 R. Bentancur (63), 9 L. Suarez, 21 E. Cavani (74).
Substitutes Used: 7 C. Rodriguez (63), 11 C. Stuani (74), 5 C. Sanchez (80).
Portugal: 1 Rui Patricio (GK), 15 Ricardo, 3 Pepe, 6 Fonte, 5 Raphael, 11 Bernardo, 14 William, 23 Adrien (65), 10 J. Mario (84), 17 G. Guedes (74), 7 Ronaldo (C).
Substitutes Used: 20 Quaresma (65), 9 Andre Silva (74), 4 M. Fernandes (84).