Uruguay qualified for the quarter-finals of the World Cup after defeating Portugal 2-1 on Saturday at the Fichte Stadium in Sochi. The Uruguayans owe the win to Edison Cavani, the Paris St Germain’s Frenchman who scored both goals in the seventh and 62 minutes, and Bibi defender Beckett secured the only goal for Portugal in the 55th minute.
The Uruguayans meet in the quarter-finals with their French counterpart, who earlier beat Argentina 4-3. The two teams met Portugal and Uruguay twice before but today’s match is the first encounter in the World Cup. Uruguay has won the first group of the World Cup with nine points from three wins while Portugal is in second place in the second group with five points of a single victory and two draws.
The Uruguayans are participating in the World Cup for the 13th time and their most notable achievements have been to win the title twice in the 1930 and 1950 editions.
Portugal’s seventh-place finish was the third in the 1966 edition. The game started quickly and Portugal almost came up with a goal two minutes after a cross from Joao Mario Bernardo Silva met with his head but the ball rose slightly on the crossbar.
Cristiano Ronaldo was very close to opening the scoring for Portugal five minutes later with a powerful shot from outside the penalty area, but Fernando Mosler goalkeeper kept the ball steady.
In contrast to the progress of the game, Edison Cavani made an excellent start to Uruguay in the seventh minute with a superb header after receiving a more than perfect pass from Luis Suarez. Jose Fonte almost equalized for Portugal in the 10th minute with a powerful header from inside the penalty area but the ball went straight past the net.
The Uruguayans responded with a quick counter-attack that ended at Suarez inside the penalty area, but the ball hit the body of one of Portugal’s defenders and went out for a corner. Rui Patricio saved Portugal from a second goal and hit his fingertips for a free-kick by Suarez.
The first half-hour of the game was exciting and fast, with many opportunities for the two teams, but Uruguay managed to maintain their lead with a Cavani goal. The Portuguese team received a free-kick from outside the penalty area directly for Ronaldo, but the ball hit the human wall of Uruguay.
A serious opportunity from the Portuguese team six minutes before the end of the first half with a strong header from Gianluca Godis from inside the penalty area, but Mosler saved the situation steadfastly. The last five minutes went through Portuguese attempts but did not produce goals to end the first half with a goal Uruguay.
The first risk came in the second half after six minutes when Adrian Silva fired a powerful shot from outside the penalty area but the ball lost its way to the net. Pepi equalized for Portugal in the 55th minute with a superb header, taking advantage of a superb cross from Rafael Guerrero.
The Portuguese team received a strong dose of confidence after Bibi’s goal, where the team dominated the game completely amid Uruguay’s defense. Cavani took the lead and scored the second goal for his country in the 62nd minute following a quick counter-attack by Rodrigo Bentancor, who cleverly passed through the area to meet St Germain with a one-touch shot with his right foot into the net.
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez made his first change with Cristian Rodriguez replacing Rodrigo Bentancour and Portugal coach Fernando Santos in the first change of his career by replacing Ricardo Quaresma instead of Adrian Silva.
Bernardo Silva missed a golden opportunity to score the equalizer for Portugal in the 70th minute after the ball fell awkwardly from the hand of Mosler directly in front of the goal, but the star of Manchester City shot very oddly over the net.
Cavani was injured to leave the stadium and take the place of Christian Stoani as Gianluca Judis of the Portuguese team and Andrei Silva participated instead.
Portuguese domination continued to play as the game was confined to the center of the Uruguayan stadium, but Cristiano Ronaldo’s team failed to match the score despite successive chances. Tabarez pushed his last change with Carlos Sanchez, replacing Nahiten Nandez and then pushed Santos to Manuel Fernandez instead of João Mario.
The last 10 minutes passed amid an aggressive flood by the Portuguese team as the Uruguayans relied on quick counter-attacks, but there was no change in the score.