SOCHI: Uruguay, inaugural winners of the World Cup back in 1930, are through to the quarter-finals of the World Cup after a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Portugal.
Edinson Cavani’s brace in Sochi took his tournament tally to three goals and condemned Portugal talisman Cristiano Ronaldo to a World Cup exit, just hours after his great rival Lionel Messi took the same path.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward struck in each half, heading home Luis Suarez’s cross early on before restoring Uruguay’s lead seven minutes after Portugal defender Pepe had levelled.
Cavani’s goals were his 44th and 45th goals for Uruguay and 12 of those have been assisted by Luis Suarez.
Since 1966, only Grzegorz Lato and Andrzej Szarmach (five for Poland) and Michael Ballack and Miroslav Klose (five for Germany) have combined for more World Cup goals than the four of Cavani and Suarez .
Pepe’s header was the first goal that Uruguay had conceded at this World Cup, but Oscar Tabarez’s side recovered to secure a date with France in Nizhny Novgorod on Friday.
This is the first time Uruguay have won their opening four games to a World Cup tournament since 1930, with the fourth game in that run being their 4-2 victory over Argentina in the final.
Portugal have now lost their last four World Cup matches in the knockout stages of the tournament, since a goalless draw with England in the 2006 quarter-final.
As for Cristiano Ronaldo this had been his 38th game in the finals of World Cups and European Championships – level with Bastian Schweinsteiger – and no player has played in more across the two competitions.