In a 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament that has produced its fair share of shockers, Uruguay has sent Portugal packing with a 2 – 1 victory in Sochi.
Ahead of the game, the pundits were declaring the match a showdown between Christian Ronaldo and Luis Suarez, the El Clasico rivals; it was Edinson Cavani, the PSG star, who produced a brace to lead his La Celeste side to the quarterfinals.
Suarez was not absent, as he teamed with Cavani to grab an early lead in just seven minutes of pitch time. Cavani found Suarez with a sweeper, who brought Cavani’s cross down and put it right back on the head of Cavani for a goal that handcuffed Portugal keeper Rui Patricio.
Up early, Uruguay played clinically for the rest of the match and supplied them with a huge win that has the South American country with just three million inhabitants in a state of euphoric jubilation.
Uruguay had been accused of producing against weak opposition in the Group stage, but they proved their legitimacy by taking on Portugal and one of the all-time greats and winning rather decisively, far more than the score would indicate.
Uruguay appeared vulnerable when they left Pepe unmarked when he rose highest on a short corner that leveled the game.
Uruguay again went in front when Cavani produced individual brilliance and scored what turned out to be the decider.
Uruguay then returned to the formula that has been effective, with their back four thwarting everything and anything the Portuguese could throw at them.
Cavani’s curler from the edge of the box in the 61st minute proved the decider and will live on in perpetuity on highlight reels.
Ronaldo was limited throughout and clearly frustrated over his inability to find or gain any space. He eventually was booked for dissent, although to be fair, there were more than a few moments during the match when only dogs’ hearing could have heard the referee’s whistles that went unnoticed by deaf human ears.
Ronaldo would have missed the next match if Portugal had gone through, but now, his entire side will be absent from the quarterfinal with France.