SOCHI Russia (Xinhua) --
Uruguay conceded their first Russia World Cup
goal in the last 16 clash against Portugal but Edinson Cavani’s
double sent them through to the quarterfinals here on Saturday
at the Fisht Olympic Stadium.
They will next face
France, who had earlier knocked out Lionel Messi’s Argentina
Forward of Paris
Saint-Germain, Cavani scored once at each half of the match,
before he was injured and left the pitch supported by Portugal
captain Cristiano Ronaldo.
their impressive performances in four matches, will go home, and
Real Madrid forward Ronaldo’s fourth World Cup journey finished
earlier than expected.
Great efforts were
mounted by the European Champions, who, in the 55th
minute, for the first time at this World Cup struck a ball into
the tightly-guarded Uruguay net.
progressed from the group stage of the World Cup for the fourth
time in their history. They pressured hard from the beginning
but it was Uruguay scored first.
The stunner came in
the 7th minute, when Cavani passed the ball to Luis
Suarez from the right. The Barcelona striker cut in and curled
back, finding Cavani who headed the ball into the top right.
It was the 12th
goal that Suarez has assisted for Cavani.
The pair had good
cooperation again seven minutes later. Cavani sent a cross into
the box where Suarez, however, could hardly get a decent shot.
Portugal had more
than 60 percent of possession, which they found hard to
translate into a goal.
Ronaldo had a
brilliant shuffle on the right, and then Joao Mario crossed to
Bernardo Silva. But the header from the Manchester City
midfielder was off-target.
Ronaldo, second on
the scorers’ list with four goals, then fired from more than 20
meters away, but the shot was received by Uruguay’s goalkeeper
Champions almost equalized soon after the goal, as Jose Fonte
nodded on a cross from Borussia Dortmund defender Raphael
Guerreiro, which was wide.
finally yielded before the hour’s mark. Following a corner,
Ronaldo rose up, but it was the unmarked Pepe, 35, who sent home
the header from behind, as the oldest Portugal player to score
at a World Cup and for the first time here in Russia to strike a
ball into the net of Uruguay.
But the draw didn’t
Seven minutes later
Rodrigo Bentancur dribbled to the box and delivered a
well-weighted pass to Cavani, who lashed the ball into the far
Portugal were so
close to level again in the 70th minute when Silva’s
drove the shot above the bar.
Portugal have lost
each of their last nine World Cup games in which they’ve
conceded the first goal. They have had a chance to top Group B
while leading in the third round of group match against Iran in
the first half, but the game ended in a draw ultimately after a
controversial penalty goal from the opponent.
Uruguay, it is very sad for Portugal though,” said Fernando
Santos, coach of Portugal who has reached the knockout stages in
major tournament for the fourth time—twice with Greece and twice
“But I do feel that
the second half was very good from us in terms of desire and our
determination to score. We tried our best and we played a good
game I think,” he said.
Ronaldo made most appearances at World Cups and European
Championships among all players since his debut in 2004. Named
as World’s best player on five occasions by FIFA, he led his
country to win the first European Championships trophy in 2016.
Last time in Sochi, he scored a hat-trick against Spain in what
was one of Russia World Cup’s most spectacular match.
“Cristiano still has
a lot to give to football and I hope he will stay to help the
young players grow and develop,” said Santos. “We have a team
with many young players and of course we all want him there with
Oscar Tabarez, the
Uruguay coach, praised the dedication of the players showed on
the pitch. “That is the way that we see football,” he said.
“It was difficult,”
he continued. “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.
But we have a very strong team in terms of our mindset.”
They will play
against France in Nizhny Novgorod on July 6.
“Cavani sustained an
injury tonight and we will have to see how that evolves as it’s
not clear at this stage how serious it is,” he said. “We know
that France will be very tough indeed. They have two exceptional
strikers, Griezmann and Mbappe - they’re very fast indeed. It
will be very difficult for us. But we will try our best and look
to impose our way of playing on them, using our strengths. “
“We are here to play
all seven matches, right up until the final, and we will see
what happens,” he said.