Brilliant Cavani brace fires Uruguay into last eight

Brilliant Cavani brace fires Uruguay into last eight

It was suggested that the two superstars were appearing in their last World Cup - a competition they are both desperate to win before they retire.

Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani - who have scored almost 100 goals for Uruguay between them - will lead the attack. The matchup pits Group A victor Uruguay against Group B runner-up Portugal in a game star power might decide.

Portugal unmistakably dictated the game, but despite trying every which way, came up short due to their struggles breaking down the well-organised Uruguay defence.

Uruguay, a two-time champion that reached the semifinals at the 2010 World Cup, will next face France on Friday in Nizhny Novgorod. They carry a huge burden on their shoulders, yet each scored crucial goals in the Group stage.

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The European champions bow out of the World Cup with a feeling of unfinished business, having come unstuck against opponents who were more accomplished on the day.

Argentina looked shell-shocked at Mbappe's early onslaught but Jorge Sampaoli's side was full of big match experience and four minutes before the break they were level.

Cavani was replaced by Cristhian Stuani for the remainder of the game as Uruguay held on to their 2-1 lead and secured a quarter-final fixture with France.

Uruguay's quartet of young midfielders in Matias Vecino, Rodrigo Bentancur, Lucas Torreira and Nahitan Nandez did well to cut down the spaces to reduce the supplies to Ronaldo as Portugal trailed by a goal at the half-time.

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"No team can win with one player alone", Portugal coach Fernando Santos said.

Santos' side dominated the match for large portions but were defeated by two excellent goals from Uruguay talisman Edinson Cavani either side of Pepe's equaliser. The South Americans work the ball to Cavani who has time to consider his options on the edge of the box. he wraps his body around the ball, curling an unstoppable shot into the top corner. But the Real Madrid superstar has been at the heart of much of what went right for Portugal at this World Cup.

While Suarez seemed to play down or avoid questions about Ronaldo, it's clear Uruguay must continue to have the tightest defence in the tournament to keep Ronaldo and others under control.

"He is an exceptional player", said Uruguay's veteran coach Oscar Tabarez.

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Cavani then had to be helped off by Ronaldo before watching the rest of the game from the dugout with ice on a calf injury. The Uruguayans had gone 598 minutes since November 2017 without allowing a goal.

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