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Russia’s impressive start to the World Cup took a downward turn as they had a man sent off and were easily defeated by Uruguay, whose victory means they top Group A, and leaves the hosts entering the last 16 as group runners-up.

There was a party atmosphere around the scorching Samara Arena before kick-off, with fans having travelled from all over the country keen to share in the good feeling surrounding their national team.

Russia had scored eight goals in sweeping victories over Saudi Arabia and Egypt and were already guaranteed to progress, but they went behind in their final group match after only 10 minutes when Luis Suarez drilled in a clever low free-kick.

It got worse for Stanislav Cherchesov’s side when a Diego Laxalt effort from 25 yards was deflected in by Denis Cheryshev, leaving his keeper Igor Akifneev stranded and in the position of having conceded three goals at the tournament without making a save.

Akinfeev did then come out to block a Rodrigo Bentancur chance, with Roman Zobnin just scrambling the rebound clear of Edinson Cavani, before Igor Smolnikov picked up a second yellow card and was sent off 35 minutes into his World Cup debut.

After the break, Russia’s 10 men composed themselves and at least managed to wrest back some control of the match, with Uruguay always looking dangerous but perhaps happy to concede possession and protect their lead.

The hosts were rewarded with their best chances of the match, the first to Artem Dzuba, who fired wildly over the bar from inside the box, the second by Fedor Smelov, who dazzled to find space in behind the Uruguay defence but failed to pick out a team-mate with what looked to be an easy cut-back.

But the final word was left to Cavani, who put several earlier misses behind him to get his first goal of the tournament by stabbing in from close range after an Akinfeev parry.

Both teams will find out their last 16 opponents later this evening, with Uruguay set to play the Group B runners-up, and Russia the Group B winners.

Current Group B leaders Spain play Morocco, who are already eliminated.

Second-placed Portugal face Iran, who must win if they are to reach the knockout stage for the first time in their history.

Russia’s party atmosphere falls flat

You could say this was the first time Russia had faced quality opposition at this tournament, and for many the manner of this defeat will mark them out as vulnerable in the next round.

Right from the outset, and even at the end when there was very little hope of a comeback emerging, there was much of the same remarkable vocal support from the stands. But on the pitch there was very little of the dynamism we saw from Russia’s players in their opening two victories.

Almost every set-piece was delivered too long, and there were so many key sloppy passes – like Yuri Gazinskiy’s to begin the passage of play that led to Suarez scoring from a free-kick – or Mario Fernandes’ when for once early in the second half Uruguay looked like they might be opened up.

Perhaps the fact that Russia, the lowest ranked team here at 70 in the world, started this game having already qualified affected their approach. Perhaps it was the oppressive heat. Midfielder Aleksandr Golovin, one of their best performers here so far, was also rested.

What is certain is that now, having finished second, Russia will play their next match at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, where they beat Saudia Arabia 5-0 in the tournament’s opening match. It will be another sell-out partisan crowd.

However, it is likely that their opponents there will be Spain – with the 2010 World Cup winners expected to secure their place as Group B winners with a victory over Morocco later this evening, although Portugal could top the group with a better result against Iran.

Suarez shows up as Uruguay maintain perfect start

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There was very little doubt about who would win this game after an early period in which Russia were blown away.

Suarez looked determined to impress after his poor opening match against Egypt, and it was his clever low free-kick that set the tone for what was a very comfortable victory.

There was plenty of noise from the stands – so Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera will have had many quieter games in terms of volume – but he had little work to do as he became his country’s all-time leading appearance maker at the World Cup.

At his 14th match at the tournament, and on the occasion of his 100th cap, Uruguay simply out-performed Russia, and of course were for much of the game a player better off.

There was even finally a goal for Cavani right at the end. For a long time it looked like it would not come as the Paris St-Germain striker endured a mostly frustrating evening.

He missed three good chances before finally things fell into place as the rebound from an Akinfeev parry landed kindly at his feet.

The Uruguay fans stayed long after the final whistle to cheer their team. For them it is three wins from three, but their next match will be a much more serious test.

Man of the match – Luis Suarez (Uruguay)

Luis Suarez celebrates scoring for Uruguay

Russia need to score first – the stats

  • Uruguay have finished as first round group winners for the fifth time, having done so previously in 1930, 1950, 1954 and 2010.
  • Russia are the first European side to fail to top their group as the host nation since Spain in 1982.
  • Russia are now winless in each of their six World Cup matches in which they have conceded the first goal (D1 L5).
  • 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).
  • Uruguay have won three consecutive World Cup matches against European opposition for the first time since a run of four straight victories between 1950 and 1954.
  • Russia’s Denis Cheryshev scored the sixth own goal at this year’s tournament, the joint-most number of own goals at a single World Cup (also six in 1998).
  • 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.
  • Edinson Cavani became just the second player to score a goal in three separate World Cup tournaments for Uruguay (2010, 2014 and 2018) after his strike partner Luis Suarez.
  • Fernando Muslera, celebrating his 100th cap in this game, became Uruguay’s all-time leading appearance maker at the World Cup (14) overtaking Ladislao Mazurkiewicz.

Line-ups

Uruguay

  • 1Muslera
  • 22Cáceres
  • 19Coates
  • 3Godín
  • 17Laxalt
  • 14Torreira
  • 8NándezSubstituted forRodríguezat 73′minutes
  • 15Vecino
  • 6BentancurBooked at 59minsSubstituted forde Arrascaetaat 63′minutes
  • 9Suárez
  • 21CavaniSubstituted forGómezat 90+3′minutes

Substitutes

  • 4Varela
  • 5Sánchez
  • 7Rodríguez
  • 10de Arrascaeta
  • 11Stuani
  • 12Campaña
  • 13G Silva
  • 16Pereira
  • 18Gómez
  • 20Urretaviscaya
  • 23M Silva

Russia

  • 1Akinfeev
  • 23SmolnikovBooked at 36mins
  • 3Kutepov
  • 4Ignashevich
  • 13Kudryashov
  • 11Zobnin
  • 8GazinskiyBooked at 9minsSubstituted forKuzyaevat 45′minutes
  • 19Samedov
  • 15Al MiranchukSubstituted forSmolovat 60′minutes
  • 6CheryshevSubstituted forFigueira Fernandesat 38′minutes
  • 22Dzyuba

Substitutes

  • 2Figueira Fernandes
  • 5Semenov
  • 7Kuzyaev
  • 10Smolov
  • 12Lunev
  • 14Granat
  • 16An Miranchuk
  • 17Golovin
  • 18Zhirkov
  • 20Gabulov
  • 21Erokhin
Referee:
Malang Diedhiou
Attendance:
41,970

Match Stats

Home TeamUruguayAway TeamRussia
Possession
Home58%
Away42%
Shots
Home16
Away3
Shots on Target
Home6
Away1
Corners
Home4
Away2
Fouls
Home17
Away18

Live Text

Match ends, Uruguay 3, Russia 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Uruguay 3, Russia 0.

Attempt blocked. Lucas Torreira (Uruguay) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Diego Laxalt.

Attempt missed. Giorgian de Arrascaeta (Uruguay) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Maxi Gómez.

Foul by Sebastián Coates (Uruguay).

Artem Dzyuba (Russia) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Substitution

Substitution, Uruguay. Maxi Gómez replaces Edinson Cavani.

Giorgian de Arrascaeta (Uruguay) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Daler Kuzyaev (Russia).

Goal!

Goal! Uruguay 3, Russia 0. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) left footed shot from very close range to the bottom left corner following a corner.

Attempt saved. Diego Godín (Uruguay) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Giorgian de Arrascaeta with a cross.

Corner, Uruguay. Conceded by Igor Akinfeev.

Attempt saved. Cristian Rodríguez (Uruguay) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Giorgian de Arrascaeta.

Diego Godín (Uruguay) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Artem Dzyuba (Russia).

Foul by Diego Godín (Uruguay).

Artem Dzyuba (Russia) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Corner, Uruguay. Conceded by Sergei Ignashevich.

Attempt blocked. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Matías Vecino.

Attempt missed. Martín Cáceres (Uruguay) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Giorgian de Arrascaeta with a cross following a corner.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Fedor Kudryashov (Russia) because of an injury.

Corner, Uruguay. Conceded by Sergei Ignashevich.

Attempt saved. Cristian Rodríguez (Uruguay) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Giorgian de Arrascaeta.

Cristian Rodríguez (Uruguay) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Daler Kuzyaev (Russia).

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Lucas Torreira (Uruguay) because of an injury.

Lucas Torreira (Uruguay) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Daler Kuzyaev (Russia).

Foul by Sebastián Coates (Uruguay).

Artem Dzyuba (Russia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Artem Dzyuba (Russia) left footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Roman Zobnin.

Substitution

Substitution, Uruguay. Cristian Rodríguez replaces Nahitan Nández.

Attempt blocked. Roman Zobnin (Russia) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Mario Fernandes.

Diego Godín (Uruguay) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Artem Dzyuba (Russia).

Attempt missed. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Diego Laxalt.

Attempt missed. Diego Godín (Uruguay) right footed shot from more than 35 yards misses to the right.

Diego Laxalt (Uruguay) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

goal