Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani lead Uruguay to 3-0 victory over host Russia
Luis Suarez netted his second goal in as many World Cup games as Uruguay secured the top spot in Group A with a comfortable 3-0 victory over host Russia, who had Igor Smolnikov sent off.
Russia’s impressive progression to the last 16 has provided one of the tournament’s major surprises so far, but the host nation was brought back down to earth in a sweltering Samara.
In a fast start, Uruguay was ahead inside 10 minutes as Suarez, who scored the winner against Saudi Arabia on Matchday 2, found the net with a pinpoint free-kick.
Denis Cheryshev’s own goal compounded Russia’s misery 13 minutes later, with Smolnikov’s dismissal – for a second yellow card issued after a foul on Edinson Cavani prior to half time — all but ending hopes of a comeback.
Russia showed greater solidity after the interval, with Artem Dzyuba wasting a chance for a consolation, but the damage was already done by the time Cavani got his first goal of the tournament in the 90th minute.
Portugal and Spain — who face Iran and already eliminated Morocco respectively later on Monday — are likely to await these sides in the knockout stages, with Uruguay’s victory meaning it will face the side that finishes second in Group B.
Key Opta Facts:
– Uruguay has finished as first-round group winners for just the fifth time, having done so previously in 1930, 1950, 1954 and most recently in 2010.
– Russia is the first European side to fail to top its group as the host nation since Spain in 1982.
– Uruguay is the first side to win all three of its group games without conceding a single goal since Argentina in 1998 (seven goals scored, none conceded).
– Russia is now winless in each of their six World Cup matches in which it has conceded the first goal (D1 L5).
– Denis Cheryshev scored the sixth own goal at this year’s tournament, the joint-most number of own goals at a single World Cup (also six in 1998).
– Uruguay striker Luis Suarez is now his country’s second outright top goalscorer at the World Cup with seven goals behind only Oscar Miguez (8).
– Edinson Cavani became just the second player to score a goal in three separate World Cup tournaments for Uruguay (2010, 2014 and 2018) after his strike partner Suarez.