Uruguay scored an enormous 2-1 victory against Portugal, and once again, will be among the best eight teams in a World Cup.
With a clear game plan, defensive order and Edinson Cavani sharp up front, Uruguay seized their opportunities. Besides, they were able to keep Cristiano Ronaldo under control throughout the whole match.
Critics may say Uruguay do not play an attractive game, but they surely know what they want to do on the field, and they execute their plan almost to perfection. That is significant, especially in a World Cup in which no team has yet shown credentials to be dubbed THE favourite.
Cavani played a starring role: first with his two goals, then by walking off helped by Cristiano Ronaldo and in evident pain. The extent of his injury is yet unknown, but with or without him, Uruguay are already thinking about their quarterfinal clash against France next Friday.
Order, above all. Uruguay were never caught on the wrong foot. They were ahead early in the game and so were able to play the game that suits them better: waiting and launching counterattacks. Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez were, again, rock solid in the back, with their only flaw being that they conceded Pepe’s equalizer.
After gaining an early advantage, Uruguay played too close to Fernando Muslera’s goal. They gave the ball away, and although Portugal never really knew how to create danger, pulling back so much can become risky against stronger rivals.
Manager rating out of 10
6 — Oscar Tabarez’s plan worked out seamlessly. Uruguay played a short, compact game that barely had any cracks. He relied on the power of his forwards and the strength of his defense, and he succeeded. He also hit the mark with his substitutions.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Fernando Muslera, 6 — With the exception of a false start that came close to ending up in an own goal, Uruguay’s goalkeeper had a good game. He did a solid job handling crosses and was confident on each of his interventions.
DF Martin Caceres, 6 — He delivered a solid performance, as did every member of the back line. He always kept his man under control and tried to play with intelligence in possession.
DF Jose Maria Gimenez, 7 — As always, he was reliable in the air and challenged each of Portugal’s crosses. The team built their win on the security provided by Gimenez and Godin.
DF Diego Godin, 7 — He lost his man and allowed Pepe´s goal, but he played a very good game. He was his usual self, the commander-in-chief of the defensive zone.
DF Diego Laxalt, 6 — Safe again on the left flank. Whenever he was able, he even ventured out to the attacking zone.
MF Nahitan Nandez, 6 — With his usual courage and spirit, he worked hard in recovery, but had a hard time imposing his presence and contributing in attack.
MF Lucas Torreira, 7 — Outstanding with his defensive duties and in retrieving the ball. He was a key player on his side of the field even though his assignments weren’t easy, namely controlling Ronaldo, and he was largely responsible for the poor game from the Portuguese star.
MF Matias Vecino, 6 — He was supposed to act as a link in the middle, but he couldn’t do it throughout the match. Since Uruguay was in the lead almost all the time, he ended up down the field, too close to his own goal.
MF Rodrigo Bentancur, 6 — He played a decent game. He played the ball with judgment whenever Uruguay had the possession, and even assisted Cavani´s second goal.
FW Luis Suarez, 7 — He didn´t score this time, but he put in a superb effort. He was a constant threat and he showed all his quality and experience to hold the ball as the game was drawing to an end.
FW Edinson Cavani, 9 — Two superb goals in his best World Cup match so far. The first one coming on a header after a great collective play. The second one, an extraordinary, curling shot to the far post. Undoubtedly, an unforgettable clash for the PSG man. Will be hoping to recover in time for the quarterfinal clash on Friday.
MF Cristian Rodriguez, 6 — Came on for Bentancur to work at recovering the ball down the middle and succeeded.
FW Cristhian Stuani, N/R — Brought on with 17 minutes to go, when Cavani, the star of the game, suffered an injury. He didn’t participate much.
MF Carlos Sanchez, N/R — Went in with 10 minutes to go in place of Nandez, who was simply exhausted. He did his part to help Uruguay hold on to their lead.