Cavani brace helps Uruguay reach last eight

03 July, 2018, 01:25 | Author: Virgil Todd
  • Luis Suarez says his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo is just at club level

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez was complimentary of Ronaldo and the rest of the Portugal squad, noting several times Uruguay will be facing the reigning champions of Europe.

The win may have come at a price, though, as Cavani limped off late on.

The 1998 champions France won 4-3 and looked a different side from the one that struggled to find their cutting edge in the group stage, pouring forward with pace and objective to stretch the ageing Argentine defence in Kazan.

Now 33, some have wondered if Saturday's defeat to Uruguay was the last time Ronaldo will be seen at a World Cup.

"It's the team that has to play, if Ronaldo plays alone we're going to lose". The result meant Portugal finished second in the group and had to face a less winnable game against Uruguay as compared to Russian Federation.

"Overall, we leave with our heads held high".

Suarez held up play for a few seconds to give Cavani time to arrive at the goal, then cut back and laced a flawless cross that ricocheted off Cavani's face and into the back of the net.

Tabarez said: 'When I walked out to the pitch I could hear our captain saying that we are playing for the father, the mother, the neighbour the brother and to give it your best.

Goals on Saturday - the most goals on a day of World Cup knockout football since 1970, when the two semi-finals produced 11 goals.

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Edinson Cavani struck a brace of brilliant goals in the last-16 tie, either side of a Pepe header, but despite having the lion's share of possession, Portugal could not break down Uruguay's well-drilled defence a second time.

"The truth is, it was really exciting", Cavani said.

Uruguay will now prepare to face France on Friday with Cavani in a race to be fit.

"I'm happy, and I'm leaving here content because things went pretty well in general", he said.

Uruguay's quartet of young midfielders in Matias Vecino, Rodrigo Bentancur, Lucas Torreira and Nahitan Nandez did well to cut down the spaces to reduce the supplies to Ronaldo as Portugal trailed by a goal at the half-time.

"In football, there are no moral victories and I would have preferred to play worse and win the match", Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. His four-goal tally in three games - including a hat-trick against Spain - had Portugal dreaming of their first World Cup quarter-final appearance since 2006. "Even if he scores three goals in match, you still need to have a team to support him".

Cavani sent the ball across the field to Suarez, who aggressively dribbled to the top corner of the penalty area.

"But we have a very strong team in terms of the mindset and we will always bank on the collective against any rival".

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