Suarez inspires Uruguay to win over Russian Federation

Suarez inspires Uruguay to win over Russian Federation

Uruguay burnished their World Cup credentials with a 3-0 victory over 10-man Russian Federation on Monday, finishing top of Group A with a flawless record while dampening the hopes of the tournament hosts, who had to settle for second.

Uruguay boss Oscar Tabarez recently said his side hadn't lived up their potential so far and they responded perfectly as Suarez temporarily silenced the home support with an expertly taken freekick early on, which he had been practising during the warm-up, from the edge of the area into the near corner.

It was 2-0 to the South Americans after 23 minutes as Diego Laxalt's shot from distance took a deflection off Denis Cherysev and sailed into the back of the net.

Russian Federation then shot themselves in the foot when World Cup debutant Igor Smolnikov was sent off in the 36th minute for his second yellow after a rash challenge on Edinson Cavani.

A resultant corner from one such strike brought the third goal as Cavani was close at hand to nod in after the goalkeeper had done well to keep out a glancing header from Godin. Strikers contribute a lot to a team.

Russian defender Igor Smolnikov is the first outfield player to be sent off for the host nation of a World Cup since Marcel Desailly for France against Brazil in the 1998 final.

Uruguay made four changes as Nahitan Nandez, Lucas Torreira, Diego Laxalt and Sebastian Coates came in, replacing Jose Gimenez, Guillermo Varela, Cristian Rodriguez and Carlos Sanchez.

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- Uruguay are the first side to win all three of their group games without conceding a single goal since Argentina in 1998 (seven goals scored, none conceded).

"In our training sessions we played against these set pieces, and today our opponents scored from set pieces".

On a personal level I'm happy to move forwards, with the team we continue to make history.

Saudi Arabia finished Group A in third place with three points, while Egypt was last after losing all three games.

Uruguay quickly settled into a passing rhythm and space opened up for Matias Vecino in the second minute, but his ambitious shot from 30 yards out rolled harmlessly wide of the left post.

Uruguay, who kept their sixth straight clean sheet, will face the runners-up from Group B, which will be decided when Spain, Portugal and Iran battle it out for two last-16 spots later on Monday.

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