Cavani Double For Uruguay Sends Ronaldo, Portugal Packing

Edinson Cavani scored in each half as Uruguay sent European champions Portugal and Cristian Ronaldo out of the World Cup with a 2-1 victory in an absorbing last-16 match in Sochi on Saturday.

A seventh-minute header and a curling shot in the 62nd either side of a Pepe header for Portugal in the 55th capped a man-of-the-match performance by the Paris Saint-Germain striker, who now has three goals in the tournament.

Two-time winners Uruguay set up a match against France in the quarter-finals in Nizhny Novgorod on Friday.

Portugal’s exit following Argentina’s 4-3 defeat to France earlier means the World Cup has lost both Lionel Messi and Ronaldo, the two players who have dominated the world player of the year awards for the past 10 years.

Uruguay went in front courtesy of a double act by strike partners Cavani and Luis Suarez, who combined to give Uruguay a first goal in open play at the tournament after five following set-pieces.

Cavani began the move with a ball from the right swept out to Suarez on the left. Suarez then cut inside and found Cavani, who had sprinted into the box at the far post and launched himself at the ball, deflecting it in off his face more than his forehead into the top corner.

Portugal returned to the Fisht Stadium where Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick against Spain and were on a remarkable of only one defeat in 27 matches since Fernando Santos took over as coach in September 2014.

Ronaldo looked determined to add to his four goals in the tournament, but a sixth-minute shot went straight to Fernando Muslera in goal and a 32nd minute free-kick was fired into the wall.

Uruguay showed why they were on a run of six games without conceding a goal this year. Muslera in goal was well protected and Portugal were unable in the first half to find the final pass they needed.

Only once in their history had Portugal come from behind to win a World Cup knockout match – in 1966 when inspired by four-goal Eusebio they recovered from 3-0 down against North Korea for a 5-3 victory.

Everything suggested another moment of individual brilliance would be needed, but when the equalizer came it was surpisingly prosaic. From a short corner Raphael Guerreiro crossed from the left and centre back Pepe rose unmarked to head past Muslera.

It did not take long for the Celeste to restore their lead. From a goal kick, the ball fell to Rodrigo Bentancur who passed to his left and Cavani finished with a first-time side-foot shot which curled past Rui Patricio in goal.

Cavani limped off in the 70th minute in once concern for coach Oscar Tabarez, and from then on it was all Portugal with Uruguay camped either in or in front of their penalty area.

But Ronaldo often ran into trouble or attempted optimistic shots easily blocked, and the Celeste defended with everything they had to give themselves a match for a place in the semi-finals.

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