World Cup: Uruguay 2 Portugal 1 - Five things you need to know

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo looks dejected at the end of the match as Uruguay's Lucas Torreira and Diego Laxalt celebrate.
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo looks dejected at the end of the match as Uruguay's Lucas Torreira and Diego Laxalt celebrate.PHOTO: REUTERS

It's all over for Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugal captain had hoped to add the World Cup to the European Championship medal he won in 2016 but Uruguay ended that dream after a 2-1 last 16 win in Sochi. While the Real Madrid galactico disappointed, it was Edinson Cavani, ably supported by Luis Suarez, who lit up Fisht Stadium with two pieces of exemplary finishing.

1. Goals

Uruguay (Edinson Cavani 7th and 62nd minutes) Portugual (Pepe 55th)

2. The wow moment

Take your pick from either of Cavani's brace. He initiated the first with a cross-field pass to Luis Suarez and his strike partner returned the favour with a teasing cross inside the box. That gave the Paris Saint-Germain player the platform to showcase his considerable aerial power as he thumped home an emphatic header. His second goal was all about technique as he used his right foot to curl the ball beyond the fingertips of Rui Patricio to muzzle Portugal.

3. The talking point

This was meant to be the final World Cup for the two outstanding footballers of the past decade. Between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, they had won all 10 of the last 10 Ballon d'Ors. But both superstars tumbled out of the tournament within hours of each other. At 31 and having previously retired after a Copa America final defeat, Messi might not return. Ditto Ronaldo, as he will be 37 by the time of the 2022 tournament in Qatar. It does seem that these two great players will never join the likes of Pele, Zinedine Zidane and Diego Maradona as World Cup winners.


4. The star

Cavani rightly gets all the plaudits for his two fantastic goals but Uruguay's defence should claim a big chunk of credit too. Until Pepe's equaliser, Oscar Tabarez's men have not conceded in their six previous matches this year. From Diego Godin's leadership to Jose Maria Gimenez's quick reactions to left-back Diego Laxalt's tireless running to Fernando Muslera's safe hands, the South American side have a defensive unit that has near-perfect understanding with each other. Portugal had a massive 20 shots against Uruguay but could only score once. Tabarez's men play with gusto and passion and they want to win for the illness-stricken coach, who is suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome.

5. What the result means

Ronaldo's World Cup quest ends here. But he can still point to the European Championship medal as a consolation. Portugal will have some overhauling to do, with Pepe, Ricardo Quaresma and Joao Moutinho all on the wrong side of 30. Uruguay will march on to the quarter-finals to meet France. It will be fascinating to see Godin try to shut out the triple threat of Mbappe, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann.