ROSTOV-ON-DON: Uruguay secured their place in the second round of the World Cup and condemned Saudi Arabia to elimination after an uninspiring 1-0 victory in Rostov-on-Don in Group A of the World Cup.

Progression for the Celeste is guaranteed whatever the outcome of their concluding group match against hosts Russia in Samara next Monday. Both teams are now qualified for the knockout stage while both Egypt and the Saudis are out with a game remaining.

Barcelona centre-forward Luis Suarez marked his 100th appearance for Uruguay by striking the winning goal after 23 minutes from close range after Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais had flapped ineffectually at a left-wing corner. Al-Owais had been called up in place of Abdullah Al Mayouf who conceded five goals against Russia last Thursday.

Saudi Arabia, thrashed 5-0 by Russia in the opening game of the tournament, were playing South American opposition at a World Cup for the first time.

They started with some promise but fell behind with 23 minutes played following an error from goalkeeper Al Owais. He misjudged an inswinging corner from the left, allowing Suarez a simple finish into the unguarded net.

It was Suarez’ 52nd goal for his country as he became the first Uruguayan to score at three World Cups.

Despite taking the lead, Uruguay were far from impressive and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera had to be alert to tip over a dipping effort from Hattan Bahebri.

Free-kick threat

Suarez threatened with a free-kick which was theatrically repelled by Al Owais early in the second period, before Carlos Sanchez wasted a free header following a fine cross from Edinson Cavani.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker almost doubled the lead with 11 minutes remaining when his attempt to divert home Cristian Rodriguez’s speculative effort flashed narrowly wide with Al Owais wrong-footed.

Saudi Arabia rarely threatened to snatch an unlikely draw.

Yasser Al-Shahrani attempted to prevent their early exit in stoppage time but his deflected drive from distance was comfortably collected by Muslera.

Uruguay’s victory means long-serving coach Tabarez has guided them out of the World Cup group stages in three successive tournaments.

Saudi Arabia have now been eliminated at the group stages in four of the five World Cup Finals they have participated in; only making it to the last 16 in 1994 which was their debut in the competition. They have failed to win any of their previous 12 World Cup matches (D2 L10), failing to score in nine of those games.