Brilliant Cavani brace fires Uruguay into last eight

Tyler Owen
July 3, 2018

With Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez in their familiar central roles, Uruguay did demonstrate their defensive superiority, nullifying Ronaldo's impact throughout an opening half largely controlled by a Portugal side lacking penetration against Oscar Tabarez's rock-solid back four.

Kylian Mbbape scored a brace while Antoine Griezmann and Benjamin Pavard scored the two other goals.

Now 33, some have wondered if Saturday's defeat to Uruguay was the last time Ronaldo will be seen at a World Cup.

Messi's return in Russian Federation was more meager - at times he looked disillusioned on the field as Argentine struggled to find anything like their usual style and he drifted deep into midfield in the forlorn hope of influencing games. "It was hard. Portugal had more possession and were often in our half of the pitch, and it would have been better for us to have more of the ball and play the game closer to their goal".

Uruguay beat Portugal 2-1 in Sochi despite possession of little more than 30 per cent.

Portugal's triumphant Euro 2016 campaign was never spectacular but it made the most of what they had available - a world-class striker, a strong defence, a good goalkeeper, a winning mentality and good organisation. The Barcelona forward held the ball for a moment as Cavani powered into the area before whipping in a cross for his strike partner to head home.

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"It's not the time to talk about the future when it comes to the players and coach", he added.

Tabarez said: 'When I walked out to the pitch I could hear our captain saying that we are playing for the father, the mother, the neighbour the brother and to give it your best. With that, dreams of a quarter-final between the two greatest players were shattered. Cavani opened the scoring just seven minutes into the keenly-fought contest when he finished off a stunning cross-field one-two with Luis Suarez.

Uruguay advanced to the quarterfinals after eliminating a Portugal team led by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Now, Uruguay will take on France on Friday at 3pm.

"Cavani has to thank Suarez today, but his movement has always been brilliant, finishing not always great but, for the first, he improvises brilliantly", said Keown.

'And I also want to congratulate the organisation of this World Cup, it has been fantastic in every way; the organisation, the security, the atmosphere is ideal and it must be said. "Even if he scores three goals in match, you still need to have a team to support him". However, the veteran centre-back's joy was short-lived, as Cavani restored the South Americans' lead with a stunning side-footed finish not long afterwards.

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