After Lionel Messi was knocked out earlier in the day, it was Cristiano Ronaldo’s turn to leave Russia early thanks to a 2-1 loss to Luis Suárez and Uruguay. In what was a thrilling 90 minutes of football, the South Americans put on a defensive clinic and saw their two superstars get the job done up front.
Both of these teams are really good defensively but have trouble creating chances, so we expected really good defending and not a lot of chances. And that’s what we got, but with the added bonus of an eary goal for Uruguay thanks to a great combination between Luis Suárez and Cavani, with the Barça man playing a perfect cross to the PSG superstar.
Uruguay sat deep and began defending for their lives as Portugal struggled to find any spaces and create any real opportunities, and what we saw for the entire half was a lot of fouls and stoppages of play. As we reached halftime, Portugal needed more creativity in midfield to get back in the game.
The Portuguese improved a lot in the early minutes of the final period by changing their formation to have more numbers in midfield, and they earned an early corner that was played into the box by Raphael Guerreiro and beautifully dispatched by Pepe for the equalizer.
Portugal looked ready to press even more and take the lead, but Cavani again popped up with a moment of brilliance and curled a sensational ball into the top corner to give his team the lead once more. But the game was not done giving us twists and turns, and when Cavani went off injured Uruguay had to play the final minutes without their best player on the night.
Uruguay clearly felt Cavani’s absence as they lost any counter attacking threat with only Luis Suárez trying to play against two central defenders, and they had to defend even harder as Portugal sent almost their entire team forward looking for an equalizer only to be stopped by Atlético Madrid duo José Giménez and Diego Godín, who both had incredible nights and defended for their lives until the end.
The final whistle came after a billion penalty shouts by a desperate Portugal side, and now Luis Suárez and his boys will face the French. That will be a crazy good game, and what could have been a Messi-Ronaldo quarterfinal is now a match between the two teams that actually deserve to be there.
Uruguay: Muslera; Cáceres, Giménez, Godín, Laxalt; Torreira, Vecino; Nández (Sánchez), Bentancur (Rodríguez), Cavani (Stuani); Suárez
Goals: Cavani (7’, 62’)
Portugal: Patrício; Ricardo, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro; William; Bernardo, Adrien (Quaresma), João Mário (Manuel); Guedes (André Silva), Ronaldo
Goal: Pepe (55’)