Uruguay 3-0 Russia
Luis Suarez netted his second goal in as many World Cup games as Uruguay secured top spot in Group A with a comfortable 3-0 victory over hosts Russia, who had Igor Smolnikov sent off.
Russia’s impressive progression to the last 16 has provided one of the tournament’s major surprises so far, but Stanislav Cherchesov’s side were brought back down to earth in a sweltering Samara.
In a fast start, Uruguay were ahead inside 10 minutes as Suarez, who scored the winner against Saudi Arabia on matchday two, found the net with a pinpoint free-kick.
Denis Cheryshev’s own goal compounded Russia’s misery 13 minutes later, with Smolnikov’s dismissal – for a second yellow card issued after a foul on Edinson Cavani prior to half time – all but ending hopes of a comeback.
Russia showed greater solidity after the interval, with Artem Dzyuba wasting a chance for a consolation, but the damage was already done by the time Cavani got his first goal of the tournament in the 90th minute.
Portugal and Spain – who face Iran and already eliminated Morocco respectively later on Monday – are likely to await these sides in the knockout stages, with Uruguay’s victory meaning they will face the side who finish second in Group B.
Oscar Tabarez’s side had already threatened before taking the lead when Suarez curled a low free-kick into the bottom-right corner after Yuri Gazinskiy’s desperate foul on Rodrigo Bentancur.
Cheryshev looked set to continue his fine form as Russia responded in force, only for the Villarreal winger to hammer a half-volley straight at Fernando Muslera on the goalkeeper’s 100th Uruguay cap.
Russia’s leading scorer would find the net at the other end on 23 minutes, though, as his touch diverted Diego Laxalt’s first-time effort past Igor Akinfeev.
Uruguay would have had a third soon after if not for a fine save from Akinfeev, who prevented Bentancur celebrating his 21st birthday with a goal.
Matters were made worse for Russia in the 36th minute, Smolnikov picking up his second booking after lunging in on Cavani, just eight minutes after being carded for a foul on Matias Vecino.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Russia were not reluctant in coming forward following the restart, a promising move breaking down when Mario Fernandes failed to tee up Aleksey Miranchuk in the area.
Cavani could have added a third just after the hour, but the Paris Saint-Germain striker elected to go down under pressure from Sergei Ignashevich rather than get a shot off, failing to fool referee Malang Diedhiou.
Muslera almost ruined a third successive clean sheet when his sloppy pass enabled Russia to counter, though Dzyuba sent his close-range effort well wide.
Uruguay’s front man would have his goal in the final minute of normal time, though, Cavani thumping home the rebound after Akinfeev had done well to keep out Diego Godin’s header as Uruguay cruised to maximum points from their three games.
Man of the Match – Luis Suárez (Uruguay)
- Giorgian De Arrascaeta replaces Rodrigo Bentancur 63 mins
- Cristian Rodriguez replaces Nahitan Nandez 73 mins
- Maximiliano Gomez replaces Edinson Cavani 90 mins
- Mario Fernandes replaces Denis Cheryshev 38 mins
- Daler Kuzyaev replaces Yuri Gazinskiy 46 mins
- Fedor Smolov replaces Aleksey Miranchuk 60 mins
Uruguay – Rodrigo Bentancur
Russia – Yuri Gazinskiy, Igor Smolnikov
Russia – Igor Smolnikov
Referee: Malang Diedhiou (Senegal)