It Was ‘Important’ To Deny Uruguay World Cup Progression – Ghana’s Amartey 

Uruguay’s forward #09 Luis Suarez reacts at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group H football match between Ghana and Uruguay at the Al-Janoub Stadium in Al-Wakrah, south of Doha on December 2, 2022. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)

 

Ghana defender Daniel Amartey admitted his team were determined that if they could not qualify for the World Cup knockout stage, they would at least prevent Uruguay from doing so.

The South American side triumphed 2-0 on Friday but both sides were eliminated due to South Korea’s last-gasp 2-1 win over group winners Portugal.

The bad blood between Uruguay and Ghana dates back 12 years to the infamous Luis Suarez handball that denied Ghana an extra-time winner in the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals.

Suarez was sent off but Asamoah Gyan missed the subsequent penalty and Uruguay triumphed in the shoot-out.

Once South Korea scored in stoppage time in Qatar on Friday, Uruguay realised they needed another goal to reach the last 16 while Ghana needed two.

READ ALSO: Alves Sets Record As Brazil Make Nine Changes For Cameroon Clash

But the South Americans missed out on goals scored even though they were level on points and goal difference.

“I just told my teammates that we need a goal now but they need a goal now so we have to defend for ourselves so that if we can’t go, they don’t go,” Amartey said.

Asked if it was important to deny Uruguay a place in the last 16, Amartey said: “For me, yes.

“It was tough because you can see their centre back, everybody comes (forward).

“Uruguay needed one goal to go through and you can see we defend four against five or three against two but we managed to defend.”

Amartey denied the Ghanaians had revenge on their minds for what happened in 2010, pointing out that no one in the current squad, except captain Andre Ayew, was even at the South Africa World Cup.

And he admitted the team did have some regrets after Ayew missed a penalty minutes before Uruguay opened the scoring in the first half.

“It’s football, it happens. If we score that penalty I think we kill them but we miss the penalty and you can see the game changed,” he said.

Ghana coach Otto Addo said his team were fighting until the bitter end.

“For us it was about trying to score,” he said. “I know that anything can happen, and even if it’s the last minute, if you get the ball one more time you can score.”

AFP

South Korea Reach World Cup Last 16 As Uruguay Crash Out

South Korea’s players celebrate at the end of the Qatar 2022 World Cup Group H football match between South Korea and Portugal at the Education City Stadium in Al-Rayyan, west of Doha on December 2, 2022. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP)

 

South Korea scored a dramatic late goal to beat Portugal 2-1 on Friday and qualify for the World Cup last 16 at Uruguay’s expense.

Substitute Hwang Hee-chan scored the winner in injury time to rescue South Korea from the brink of World Cup elimination.

The Wolverhampton Wanderers’ forward slipped in the winner in the 91st minute at Education City Stadium in Qatar to spark delirium and tears among the Korean fans.

Talisman Son Heung-min, who set up the winner, collapsed to the floor and lay on his back on the turf at the final whistle. He had tears in his eyes.

The Korean players then stood in a huddle on the pitch watching the Ghana v Uruguay match on a mobile phone as they awaited their place in the last 16 to be confirmed.

READ ALSO: Again, Uruguay Shatter Ghana’s World Cup Dreams 

A much-changed Portugal had taken a fifth-minute lead through Ricardo Horta but the Koreans, who had to win to stand any chance of staying alive, hit back in the 27th minute through Kim Young-gwon.

Portugal skipper Cristiano Ronaldo played a part in the Korean equaliser, turning his back on a corner and the ball hitting him to set up Kim.

South Korea and their skipper Son, in a mask after recent surgery, needed to score again but they failed to really trouble Portugal until Son set up Hwang in injury time after a fine run.

Before a ball was even kicked a roar went up at Education City Stadium every time Ronaldo’s face popped up on the big screen, even during the national anthems. There were some jeers too and chants of “Messi, Messi”.

South Korea coach Paulo Bento, the former Portuguese international, had to watch from the stands after he was sent off following the final whistle of the Koreans’ 3-2 defeat to Ghana.

He saw his men fall behind after just five minutes when defender Pepe played the ball down the right to Manchester United full-back Diogo Dalot.

Dalot easily evaded a weak Korean challenge and pulled the ball back from the byline for winger Horta to fire unmarked into the back of the net in front of a 44,000 crowd.

With qualification already secure, Portugal made six changes from the team that beat Uruguay 2-0, Dalot and Horta among those bought in.

But they still looked dangerous every time they went forward in the first half against a Korean defence missing Napoli’s Kim Min-jae.

South Korean skipper Son, the Spurs forward, was yet to get going at this World Cup after surgery for a fracture around his left eye at the start of November.

Wearing a black mask to protect the wound, the 30-year-old showed glimpses of his brilliant best as South Korea chased the win they so badly needed.

South Korea were threatening to get on top and in the 27th minute they were level.

The 37-year-old Ronaldo, surely playing at his last World Cup, unwittingly played a central role in the South Korean goal.

Currently without a club after his bitter departure from Manchester United, the forward turned his back on a Korean corner and the ball hit his shoulder and fell straight to defender Kim to turn in.

The second half was more of the same — Portugal enjoying more possession and stroking the ball around but South Korea and an increasingly influential Son a threat on the break.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos brought Ronaldo off on 65 minutes to save his legs, then attacker Hwang came on and proved to be the hero at the death.

Again, Uruguay Shatter Ghana’s World Cup Dreams 

 

Uruguay defeated Ghana 2-0 in a Group H encounter on Friday to end the Black Stars’ dreams of making the last 16 of the competition. 

Despite the win, Uruguay did not advance to the next stage of the 2022 World Cup after South Korea defeated Portugal 1-2 in another Group H tie.

With three points from two games, Ghana were heading into Friday’s game with a win and revenge for their 2010 controversial loss against the Uruguayans in mind.

Veteran striker Luis Suarez was at the centre of the pre-match build-up because of his infamous handball in the 2010 quarter-finals, which helped eliminate Ghana.

READ ALSO: South Korea Reach World Cup Last 16 As Uruguay Crash Out

His name was booed loudly by the Ghana fans when it was read out by the stadium announcers and he got the same treatment every time he touched the ball. He was also leading the protests when Ghana were awarded a penalty in the 19th minute.

Ghana had the chance to go ahead in the tie but Dede Ayew’s penalty in the 21st minute was saved by Sergio Rochet who had brought down Mohammed Kudus.

But five minutes later, Giorgian de Arrascaeta nodded home his country’s first goal in the competition. He doubled the tally after his low shot beat Ati Zigi in his near post to revive Uruguay’s dreams of making the next round.

The score remained so heading into the break with the South Americans in good standing to make the last 16.

Ghana struggled to create anything in response. The closest they came to pulling a goal back came with nine minutes remaining, when Rochet brilliantly tipped away Kudus’s powerful low drive.

While Uruguay needed the results in the other game to go their way, substitute Hwang Hee-chan scored the winner in injury time to rescue South Korea from the brink of World Cup elimination in a thrilling 2-1 victory over already-qualified Portugal on Friday.

Uruguay then realised they needed another goal and poured forward but were unable to find make the breakthrough. The match ended with pushing and shoving, with Suarez distraught at his team’s fate.

The development meant the South Americans are out of the tournament despite the win over Otto Addo’s charges. South Korea and Portugal advance as runners-up and winners respectively.

Both sides will know their next foes when the Group G matches would be concluded later in the day. Brazil have already booked their spot in the round of 16 but Switzerland, Cameroon, and Serbia also have a chance of making it out of the group if results go in their favour.

Ghana Eye Uruguay Revenge, Germany Digests Shock Exit

Uruguay’s forward #09 Luis Suarez gives a press conference at the Qatar National Convention Center (QNCC) in Doha on December 1, 2022, on the eve of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football match between Ghana and Uruguay. (Photo by Pablo PORCIUNCULA / AFP)

 

 

Ghana bid to avenge an infamous loss by eliminating Uruguay from the World Cup on Friday as shellshocked Germany launched an inquest into the team’s stunning early exit.

After a pulsating fortnight of first round action, the World Cup’s group stage draws to a close with the final games in Groups G and H.

Brazil have already locked up qualification from Group G while Portugal have assured themselves of a place in the last 16 in Group H.

That leaves all eyes on Ghana’s clash with Uruguay on Friday where a win for the Africans would see them into the knockout rounds.

The game is a rematch of the two sides epic 2010 World Cup quarter-final, where a deliberate handball on the goalline by Uruguay’s Luis Suarez denied Ghana an extra-time winner.

Asamoah Gyan missed the ensuing spot-kick before Uruguay went on to win the game on penalties to deny Ghana a semi-final berth.

The villain of the 2010 game, Suarez, on Thursday brushed off an invitation to apologise for his misdeeds ahead of Friday’s game.

“I don’t say I apologise about that because I take the handball but the Ghana player missed the penalty, not me. It’s not my fault because I did not miss the penalty,” he said.

The permutations are simple for Uruguay — they must win to have any chance of progressing, while Ghana know a draw could be enough, depending on the result between Portugal and South Korea.

Like Uruguay, the Koreans must win and then hope for a favour in the other match.

They will be without Portuguese coach Paulo Bento after his red card in the 3-2 defeat to Ghana when he raged at the referee.

In Group G, already-qualified Brazil play Cameroon, who must win to stand a chance of progressing.

Brazil coach Tite is set to make a raft of changes to rest his first-choice players as he eyes the next round.

“It is a risk, yes, but it is an opportunity for (other players) to show their quality,” he said.

Serbia must also beat Switzerland — who could qualify with a draw — to reach the last 16.

– German inquest –
Friday’s group games follow an epic round of fixtures on Thursday which saw Japan stun 2010 world champions Spain to seal their place in the knockout rounds at the expense of mighty Germany.

Germany, who suffered a stunning 2-1 defeat to the Japanese earlier in the tournament, were eliminated on goal difference.

It is the second straight World Cup that Germany have failed to go beyond the group stage, a startling fall from grace for the four-time champions who last won the title in 2014.

German veteran Thomas Muller described the loss on Thursday as an “absolute catastrophe” while striker Kai Havertz said simply: “I don’t think we’re a tournament team anymore.”

The German exit has understandably put the future of coach Hansi Flick under scrutiny.

Flick’s contract runs until 2024, when Germany will host the European Championship on home soil.

Flick said late Thursday there was “no reason not to continue” after being quizzed about his future.

German Football Federation (DFB) president Bernd Neuendorf said Friday there was no question of Flick being granted a “blank cheque” to continue as he announced a review of the debacle.

“As soon as the analysis is completed, we will present the conclusions to you,” Neuendorf told reporters in Qatar.

But former Germany international Dietmar Hamann said Flick should be hustled out of the door, pointing the finger of blame at the coach.

“Everyone does what they want in the team. I see no reason why Flick should remain coach,” Hamann told Sky Germany. “He has not managed to form a team, a squad that is competitive.

“In terms of players, we are better than at least two teams in our group. He didn’t get the cohesion right.”

Uruguay Sack Tabarez After Record-Breaking 15-Year Stint

File photo: Uruguay’s coach Oscar Washington Tabarez waits for the beginning of an international friendly football match between Uruguay and Peru in Montevideo on October 11, 2019. EITAN ABRAMOVICH / AFP

 

Iconic Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez was sacked on Friday after a record-breaking 15 years in the job, following a poor run of results that leaves the country’s World Cup qualification hopes in the balance.

Tabarez, 74, enjoys almost legendary status in Uruguay having led the tiny country of 3.4 million people to the World Cup semi-finals in 2010 and then to the Copa America title a year later.

But four straight defeats — three of them by three goals — have left Uruguay in danger of missing out on next year’s World Cup, a tournament they won in 1930 and 1950.

“The executive committee of the AUF informs that it has decided to end the contract of Oscar Washington Tabarez and other members of the national team coaching staff,” said the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) in a statement.

The AUF described it as a “difficult decision” that in no way “disavows Tabarez’s important contribution to Uruguayan football.”

Uruguay have scored just one goal, conceding 11, in their last four matches that included defeats to Brazil, Bolivia, and twice to Argentina.

They sit seventh in the single South American qualifying table for the World Cup in Qatar, with only the first four progressing automatically.

Brazil and Argentina have already qualified, while Ecuador need just two wins from their final four matches to join them.

The battle for the final spot sees five teams, including Uruguay, separated by just two points.

Tabarez took charge of a record 221 matches with a single national team, even putting him ahead of former Germany boss Joachim Loew, with 198 games.

He was the longest-serving current national team coach until Friday at 15 years and eight months.

Tabarez first took over the Uruguay reins from 1988 to 1990 before he was hired again in 2006.

He also coached Boca Juniors twice and AC Milan between his two stints with the national team.

AFP

Super-Sub Cavani Inspires Man Utd Fight Back Against Southampton

Manchester United’s Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani celebrates after scoring their third goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on November 29, 2020. Manchester United won the game 3-2.  Adam Davy / POOL / AFP

 

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer praised Edinson Cavani’s “hunger” for goals after the Uruguay striker inspired Manchester United’s thrilling 3-2 win against Southampton on Sunday.

Solskjaer’s side were facing a dismal defeat after first half goals from Jan Bednarek and James Ward-Prowse put Southampton in control at St Mary’s.

But Cavani sparked United’s escape act after coming on at the interval.

Cavani set up Bruno Fernandes to reduce the deficit and the former Paris Saint-Germain star grabbed the equaliser from his team-mate’s deflected shot.

The 33-year-old netted again in the final moments as his third goal since signing as a free agent in October extended United’s winning run to four games in all competitions.

“Great impact of course. He is a number nine who wants to be in between the posts, he is always on the move. I’m very pleased with him,” Solskjaer said.

“On the training pitch, in the dressing room and during meal times, how meticulous he is. He knows what he wants to eat, how much he wants to recover — everything!

“It was top movement and his timing is fantastic. His hunger to get on the end of things is the key for a centre-forward.

“Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it doesn’t but to score you have to be in there.”

Manchester United’s Norwegian manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (L) congratulates Manchester United’s Brazilian midfielder Fred (R) on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Manchester United at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on November 29, 2020. Manchester United won the game 3-2. Adam Davy / POOL / AFP

 

It was exactly the kind of influential display Solskjaer was hoping for from Cavani when he moved for him after United’s failed pursuit of Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho.

Written off as a panic buy in some quarters, Cavani proved his age should be no barrier to making an impact in the Premier League.

He is only the second player to be directly involved in three goals in a Premier League game after coming on as a substitute for United since Solskjaer scored four against Nottingham Forest in 1999.

United climbed to seventh place, two points adrift of the Champions League places, after setting a club record of eight successive away Premier League wins.

“It is a trait of Manchester United to never give in. Every single one of them, there was absolutely no chance they were going to give up. That’s a big thing for a Manchester United player,” Solskjaer said.

“I was quite calm at half-time. We must have had five or six clear-cut chances, so it was about taking them when we got the chance.”

United goalkeeper David de Gea came off at half-time with a knee injury and Solskjaer said: “Hopefully he can be okay for Wednesday but I’m not sure.”

– Decisive introduction –
Southampton took the lead against the run of play in the 23rd minute.

Ward-Prowse curled a corner to the near post and Bednarek got in front of Marcus Rashford to glance his header past De Gea from close range.

READ ALSO: Maradona’s Burial, FIFA Awards Nominees + Other Top Sports Stories Last Week

Ward-Prowse doubled Southampton’s advantage in the 33rd minute.

Taking aim from the left side of the United area, Ward-Prowse curled a superb free-kick over the wall and past De Gea, whose despairing attempt to claw it out sent him clattering into the post.

It was Cavani’s introduction that proved decisive after a curious late arrival on the pitch as he sorted out his boots.

“He probably wasn’t able to warm up and then he realised he needed bigger studs. He has to be ready!” Solskjaer said.

Cavani linked up with Fernandes to reduce the deficit in the 59th minute as his cross reached the Portugal midfielder, who swivelled to fire home from 10 yards.

Since his United debut in January, Fernandes has been involved in a league-high 25 goals, scoring 15 and providing 10 assists.

Cavani’s experience and quality were on full display in the 74th minute when he instinctively threw himself at Fernandes’s deflected shot and headed in from close range.

United weren’t finished yet and two minutes into stoppage time, Rashford sent a cross towards Cavani, who stooped to guide a superb header past McCarthy.

AFP

Suarez Contracts COVID-19, To Miss Brazil Showdown

In this file picture taken on June 29, 2019 Uruguay’s Luis Suarez reacts during the Copa America quarterfinal football match against Peru at the Fonte Nova Arena in Salvador, Brazil. JUAN MABROMATA / AFP

 

Uruguay’s Luis Suarez has tested positive for Covid-19 and will miss the World Cup qualifying match against Brazil, Uruguay’s football association announced Monday.

“Tests have been carried out on all the members of the national team, with the result that the players Luis Suarez (and) Rodrigo Munoz and the official, Matias Faral, have tested positive for Covid-19,” the federation said in a statement.

All three are “in good health”, it added. They join defender Matias Vina, who tested positive on Saturday after Uruguay’s 3-0 win over Colombia in Barranquilla.

Uruguay host Brazil in Montevideo on Tuesday.

AFP

Uruguay’s Foreign Minister Resigns

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 10, 2020 Uruguayan Foreign Minister Ernesto Talvi speaks to the press after the COVID-19 coronavirus-stricken Australian liner Greg Mortimer docked at Montevideo's port from where Australian and New Zealander passengers will be directly escorted in buses to the international airport where they will board a medically equipped Airbus plane that will fly them to Australia. - Uruguay's Foreign Minister, Ernesto Talvi, presented his resignation on July 1, 2020. He will be replaced by the Uruguayan ambassador to Spain, Francisco Bustillo. (Photo by Pablo PORCIUNCULA / AFP)
(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 10, 2020 Uruguayan Foreign Minister Ernesto Talvi speaks to the press after the COVID-19 coronavirus-stricken Australian liner Greg Mortimer docked at Montevideo’s port from where Australian and New Zealander passengers will be directly escorted in buses to the international airport where they will board a medically equipped Airbus plane that will fly them to Australia. – Uruguay’s Foreign Minister, Ernesto Talvi, presented his resignation on July 1, 2020. He will be replaced by the Uruguayan ambassador to Spain, Francisco Bustillo. (Photo by Pablo PORCIUNCULA / AFP)

Uruguay’s Foreign Minister Ernesto Talvi, who shot to international prominence when he oversaw the repatriation of foreign passengers from a coronavirus-stricken cruise ship, announced his resignation Wednesday.

Talvi’s move had been expected after he announced his intention last month to devote more time to his Ciudadanos political party, one of five in Uruguay’s governing coalition.

In a letter to President Luis Lacalle Pou which he posted on Twitter, Talvi said he had intended to remain as minister until the end of the year, to preside over the country’s rotating presidency of the Mercosur regional bloc.

“I understand, however, that the timings in the cabinet are set by the President of the Republic. I hereby tender my resignation.”

Local media reported that Talvi will be replaced by Francisco Bustillo, currently the ambassador to Spain. Bustillo was reported to be on his way to Montevideo.

The 63-year-old Talvi was widely praised after he oversaw a lengthy and sometimes fraught operation to repatriate the passengers and crew of the Australian cruise ship Greg Mortimer.

The ship had aborted a cruise to Antarctica on March 20 after the nearest South American countries — Argentina and Chile — closed their borders and imposed lockdowns.

The captain diverted to Montevideo, where the ship was eventually allowed to dock after most of the more than 200 people aboard contracted the disease.

Passengers, mostly from Australia and New Zealand, were flown home aboard two emergency flights in April.

The last of the crew were allowed to leave Uruguay later after quarantining in Montevideo.

 

 

-AFP

Tabarez Set For 200th Match In Charge Of Uruguay

Uruguay’s coach Oscar Washington Tabarez waits for the beginning of an international friendly football match between Uruguay and Peru in Montevideo on October 11, 2019. EITAN ABRAMOVICH / AFP

 

Iconic Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez will reach a new milestone when his team take on Peru in a friendly on Tuesday, in his 200th match in charge of the two-time world champions.

The 72-year-old, who suffers from a nerve disorder that forces him to uses crutches to walk, has held the record of most matches in charge of a single national team since 2016.

He has been at the Uruguay helm for 13 years and last year signed a contract extension until the end of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

His crowning moment came in 2011 when he led Uruguay to the Copa America title, a year after his side reached the World Cup semi-finals.

His 199th match in charge on Friday saw Uruguay beat Peru 1-0 in a friendly in Montevideo.

Tuesday’s match will be in the Peruvian capital Lima.

Tabarez’s record number does not include those during his reign when he was unable to sit on the bench either through illness or suspension, Uruguay’s football federation confirmed to AFP.

He was first in charge from 1988-90 before returning to the post in 2006.

In 1987 he led Uruguayan giants Penarol to Copa Libertadores success, while in 1992 he won the Argentine championship with Boca Juniors, the country’s most popular team.

AFP

Valencia Sign Uruguay Striker Maxi Gomez

Uruguay’s player Maximiliano Gomez takes part in a training session in Porto Alegre, Brazil, on June 19, 2019, on the eve of their Copa America football match against Japan. CARL DE SOUZA / AFP

 

Uruguayan international Maxi Gomez has joined Valencia from Celta Vigo, the promising striker’s new La Liga club announced on Sunday.

“I’m very happy to come to Valencia, it’s a very big club,” the 22-year-old told the club website. “It’s very nice to be able to play Champions League. I dreamed of that as a kid.”

Valencia released a statement saying Gomez had signed a five-year contract with a 140 million euro ($158 million) release clause.

READ ALSO: Super Eagles Set For Algeria Clash In AFCON Semi-Final

Neither club gave details of the fee or Gomez’s salary but reports estimated that Valencia had paid an initial 14.5 million euros and that fellow striker Santi Mina, who began his career in Vigo before moving to Valencia, would return to Celta.

Gomez spent the last two seasons with Celta, scoring 31 goals in 75 games. He has played 12 times for Uruguay, making two appearances off the bench in last year’s World Cup. He was part of the national squad in the recent Copa America but did not play.

AFP

France Beat Uruguay To Reach World Cup Semi-Finals

(From Left) France’s forward Olivier Giroud, France’s midfielder Steven N’Zonzi, France’s defender Presnel Kimpembe and France’s midfielder Corentin Tolisso celebrate their victory at the end of the Russia 2018 World Cup quarter-final football match between Uruguay and France at the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium in Nizhny Novgorod on July 6, 2018. PHOTO: KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV / AFP

 

France became the first team to reach the World Cup semi-finals as goals from Raphael Varane and Antoine Griezmann gave them a deserved 2-0 victory over Uruguay on Friday.

It is the first time France have been in the last four since 2006 and sets up a mouth-watering clash against either Belgium or Brazil, who play later on Friday, in St Petersburg on Tuesday.

France took the lead in the 40th minute from the unlikely source of defender Varane, who glanced home a fine header from an Antoine Griezmann free-kick.

It was only the Real Madrid player’s third goal for France and represented redemption for Varane, who was largely blamed for the goal which saw France lose at the quarter-final stage to Germany four years ago.

Griezmann, who counts several of the Uruguay players as close friends, scored a second in the 61st minute, but it was mostly due to a howler from La Celeste’s goalkeeper, Fernando Muslera.

The usually dependable stopper flapped at Griezmann’s 20-yard shot and agonisingly saw the ball float over the line.

It was Griezmann’s third goal of this World Cup, but his first not from a penalty.

That goal secured the victory but did not end the drama in Nizhny Novgorod, as Uruguay’s frustration boiled over in the 67th minute when Kylian Mbappe fell to the floor.

Uruguay skipper Diego Godin gestured with the teenager to get up, then tried to pull him from the turf, sparking a melee which involved most of the players and saw French coach Didier Deschamps come onto the pitch to try to calm tempers.

France’s victory was merited as it was they who had the bulk of possession and always looked the most likely to score.

They might have scored as early as the 15th minute when Mbappe mistimed a close header.

The lightning-quick Mbappe and Griezmann struck fear into the Uruguayan defence all afternoon.

In midfield, France’s N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba snuffed out any potential threat posed by Uruguay.

And up front for La Celeste, Luis Suarez cut an isolated and agitated figure as his team desperately went in search of an equaliser as Edinson Cavani was ruled out with injury.

Increasingly, Suarez vented his frustration with Argentinian referee Nestor Pitana, who, coincidentally, was the official in charge of France’s quarter-final 2014 defeat.

The Barcelona star was partnered by Cristhian Stuani after a week of will-he-won’t-he speculation surrounding Cavani ended up with the Paris Saint-Germain striker failing to recover from a calf strain.

Without Cavani, Uruguay posed little threat.

A tight and nervy encounter to begin with, the game burst into life after Varane’s goal.

Until that point, Uruguay had struggled to get into the French penalty area, but within four minutes of the goal would have been level except for an exceptional save by Hugo Lloris.

The French skipper saved superbly with one-hand from defender Martin Caceres, whose header from a free kick look destined to go in.

Diego Godin could have scored from the follow-up, but that was the closest the South Americans would come to scoring all afternoon.

AFP

Uruguay’s Cavani Sends Ronaldo, Portugal Out Of World Cup

Uruguay’s forward Edinson Cavani (2ndL) leaves the pitch comforted by Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo during the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Uruguay and Portugal at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on June 30, 2018. Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP

 

Uruguay sent Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal crashing out of the World Cup on Saturday as a pair of stunning goals from Edinson Cavani gave the South Americans a 2-1 victory.

It means that the world’s two top footballers have exited the tournament on the same day, after Lionel Messi and Argentina were knocked out by France.

Edinson Cavani scored twice as Uruguay shattered Cristiano Ronaldo’s World Cup dream with a 2-1 victory over Portugal here Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain striker Cavani curled home a superb 62nd-minute winner to settle a thrilling second round duel in Sochi which sends Uruguay into a quarter-final against France next Friday.

Cavani had already put Uruguay in front early on, only for Pepe to head Portugal level in the 55th minute in a thrilling contest that was not the battle of attrition many predicted.

Pepe’s goal was the first time the South Americans’ defence had been breached in this tournament, but they stood firm after that and are beginning to look like genuine contenders moving into the latter stages in Russia.

The only downside for Oscar Tabarez’s side was the sight of Cavani limping off late on, raising a question mark over his fitness for next week’s last eight showdown with the French in Nizhny Novgorod.

Meanwhile, European champions Portugal go home, as Ronaldo and Lionel Messi bow out of the competition on the same day.

In contrast, Uruguay march on with arguably the best defence in international football and one of the best strike pairings anywhere.

Suarez and Cavani combined brilliantly for the seventh-minute opener on Russia’s Black Sea coast.

Cavani picked out Suarez on the left with a cross-field ball, before continuing his run into the penalty area and meeting the Barcelona striker’s return delivery at the back post, the ball smacking off his face and flying in.

Pepe breaches Uruguay defence 

Suarez almost doubled the lead from a free-kick midway through the first half that forced a good save from Rui Patricio.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo did not touch the ball once in the opposition area in the first period. But with Uruguay sitting back, Portugal did equalise 10 minutes into the second half.

A corner was played short to Raphael Guerreiro, and his cross from the left was headed home from close range by Pepe, rising high above Diego Godin in the area.

After nearly five and a half hours of football, it was the first goal Uruguay had let in at this World Cup — indeed it was the first they had conceded in 2018.

But their response to that was magnificent as they went quickly retook the lead, Rodrigo Bentancur teeing up Cavani for a magnificent first-time curling strike into the far corner on his right foot.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos threw up his hands in disgust, realising that coming from behind a second time against this Uruguay defence was going to be a tall order.

Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera did almost gift them another equaliser, dropping a high ball at the feet of Bernardo Silva, but the Manchester City man could only volley over.

Cavani then had to be helped off by Ronaldo before watching the rest of the game from the dugout with ice on a calf injury.

His side held out, and if he recovers, Cavani can now look forward to coming up against his Paris Saint-Germain strike partner Kylian Mbappe, so impressive for France against Argentina.

But Mbappe is unlikely to find the Uruguayan defence so accommodating.