Published: Thu, June 28, 2018
Sports | By Phillip Butler

Uruguay outplay Russian Federation, top Group A

Uruguay outplay Russian Federation, top Group A

Uruguay beat 10-man Russian Federation 3-0 in Samara to secure top spot in Group A and end the hosts' flawless start to their home World Cup.

"I said already that Uruguay has top-notch players".

Russian Federation had scored eight goals in sweeping victories over Saudi Arabia and Egypt and were already guaranteed to progress, but they went behind in their final group match after only 10 minutes when Luis Suarez drilled in a clever low free-kick.

Denis Cheryshev made things worse for the hosts with an unfortunate own goal before Igor Smolnikov's reckless challenge saw him sent off before the break.

The atmosphere in Samara was loud and festive but Suarez found the ideal way to dampen it within 11 minutes. The Paris Saint-Germain forward put a rebound into the left corner of the net after Diego Godin's header was parried by Akinfeev. It was nearly three soon after when fine work from Suarez set up Rodrigo Bentancur, whose effort was saved.

World Cup debutant Igor Smolnikov's red card in the 36th minute was the knockout blow for Russian Federation.

The host team achieved its minimum objective and already qualified from Group A along with their opponent.

But Russia's pain worsened when Cavani tapped home in the final minutes after Akinfeev made a wonderful reflex save from Diego Godin's header.

Luis Suarez. Uruguay haven't looked terribly impressive at this World Cup but have managed to remain ideal in the group stages thanks to a miserly defence and the efforts of their talisman.

It all went wrong for the hosts and, while they still comfortably progress to the last 16, the consequences of this defeat will become apparent further down the line.

Portugal finished second in Group B after a draw with Iran.

While Russia had confounded those who predicted a group stage exit with resounding victories over Saudi Arabia and Egypt, there was still a question mark over how they would perform when they faced stronger opposition. Strikers contribute a lot to a team.

The extent to which Cherchesov's best-laid plans came apart, though, was shown when Fernandes had to be deployed before half-time upon Smolnikov's dismissal. Here are 3 decisive moments that tilted the tie in Uruguay's favor and sealed their place at the top of the group. Gimenez scored in the team's opening match of the tournament, a 1-0 victory over Egypt.

Luis Suarez's free kick delivery had his inimitable style and personality stamped all over it.

Instead of Ronaldo, it was Ricardo Quaresma who scored for the Portuguese.

Uruguay gave an early warning of their intent at the Samara Arena when Edinson Cavani found Matias Vecino, who fired wide from 25 yards.

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