World Cup - Group A
UruguayUruguay1Saudi ArabiaSaudi Arabia0

World Cup 2018: Uruguay beat Saudi Arabia to send themselves & Russia into last 16

By Steve SutcliffeBBC Sport

Uruguay's slender victory over Saudi Arabia ensured that they and host nation Russia reached the last 16 of the World Cup.

Luis Suarez scored the only goal at the Rostov Arena, sweeping in from close range on his 100th international appearance.

It was hard on the Green Falcons, who were knocked out despite a vast improvement from their 5-0 defeat by Russia in the tournament's opening game.

However, while they largely eliminated their defensive errors and enjoyed more possession than their opponents, they were made to pay for one lapse by goalkeeper Mohammed Al Owais, whose misjudgement allowed Suarez to score.

Russia's 3-1 win over Egypt on Tuesday means both they and Uruguay have collected maximum points from their two Group A games.

Both nations are six points clear of third-placed Egypt with one game to play.

Yet with Portugal and Spain as prospective last-16 opponents, it remains to be seen what advantage either could grasp from winning the group when they meet in Samara on 25 June (15.00 BST kick-off).

In truth, it was another stuttering display from Oscar Tabarez's Uruguay team. They were more functional than exhilarating and reliant upon the threat carried by Barcelona's Suarez and strike partner Edinson Cavani.

The Paris St-Germain forward's vision and perseverance should have resulted in a second goal, but Carlos Sanchez spurned a headed chance and Al Owais saved at Cavani's feet in the closing stages.

Centurion Suarez

Suarez may be entering the latter part of his career but the former Liverpool forward's predatory instincts showed no signs of dimming during his 100th appearance for his country.

The 31-year-old was largely anonymous during Uruguay's opening win against Egypt, and though far from the effervescent figure that Premier League and La Liga audiences are familiar with, he remains a difficult opponent to pin down over 90 minutes.

He scored a volley, had another deflected wide and combined well with Cavani early on - but thereafter Saudi defender Ali Albulayhi acted as his shadow, dispensing several tough challenges and moments of gamesmanship that appeared to rile Suarez.

To his credit, the Barcelona forward - who has received bans in his previous two World Cups - passed the test of temperament.

And his goal ensured Uruguay reached the knockout stages for their third consecutive finals.

Playing for pride

The Saudi coach Juan Antonio Pizzi talked of a "feeling of shame" after their 5-0 loss to Russia, with his players accused of freezing on the big occasion.

However, Wednesday's resilient display was in total contrast, and one to be proud of, as they took the game to their more fancied opponents.

They resembled the side that former coach Bert van Marwijk guided through qualification ahead of Australia and a point behind Japan.

Al Hilal midfielder Abdullah Ateef exhibited his range of passing and football intelligence to show why he has been nicknamed the "Saudi Modric" [after Croatia and Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric] by his team-mates.

And there were also moments of promise from Fahad Al Muwallad and Mohamed Kanno without there ever quite being enough thrust or accuracy to trouble their South American opponents or deliver a first victory in 12 World Cup matches.

Man of the match - Diego Godin (Uruguay)

Diego Godin in action for Uruguay against Saudi Arabia
The Uruguay captain Diego Godin snuffed out Saudi Arabia's attacking threat to help his team to a second clean sheet of the tournament

'Profitable set-pieces' - the stats

  • Saudi Arabia have been eliminated at the group stage in four of the five World Cups they have competed in.
  • They have failed to win any of their 12 World Cup matches, drawing two, and have not scored in nine of those games.
  • Uruguay have won all four of their World Cup matches against Asian opposition.
  • This was the eighth 1-0 win at Russia 2018, equalling the total in the entire group stage of the 2014 World Cup.
  • Uruguay have now kept consecutive clean sheets in the World Cup for the first time since a run of three in 2010.
  • Luis Suarez's winner for Uruguay was the 25th scored from a set-piece at this tournament from a total of 44 goals (57%).
  • Suarez became the sixth player to make 100 appearances for his country.
  • He also became the first Uruguay player to score in three World Cups.

Line-ups

Uruguay

  • 1Muslera
  • 4Varela
  • 2Giménez
  • 3Godín
  • 22Cáceres
  • 5SánchezSubstituted forNándezat 82'minutes
  • 15VecinoSubstituted forTorreiraat 59'minutes
  • 6Bentancur
  • 7RodríguezSubstituted forLaxaltat 59'minutes
  • 21Cavani
  • 9Suárez

Substitutes

  • 8Nández
  • 10de Arrascaeta
  • 11Stuani
  • 12Campaña
  • 13G Silva
  • 14Torreira
  • 16Pereira
  • 17Laxalt
  • 18Gómez
  • 19Coates
  • 20Urretaviscaya
  • 23M Silva

Saudi Arabia

  • 22Al Owais
  • 6Al-Burayk
  • 3Os Hawsawi
  • 4Albulayhi
  • 13Al Shahrani
  • 17Al JassamSubstituted forAl-Mogahwiat 44'minutes
  • 14Otayf
  • 9BahebriSubstituted forKannoat 75'minutes
  • 7Al Faraj
  • 18Al Dawsari
  • 19Al Muwallad Al-HarbiSubstituted forAl Sahlawiat 78'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Al-Mayoof
  • 2Al-Harbi
  • 5Om Hawsawi
  • 8Al Shehri
  • 10Al Sahlawi
  • 11Al-Khaibri
  • 12Kanno
  • 15Al Khaibari
  • 16Al-Mogahwi
  • 20Abu Radeah Aseri
  • 21Al-Mosailem
  • 23M Hawsawi
Referee:
Clément Turpin
Attendance:
42,678

Match Stats

Home TeamUruguayAway TeamSaudi Arabia
Possession
Home47%
Away53%
Shots
Home13
Away8
Shots on Target
Home3
Away2
Corners
Home3
Away4
Fouls
Home10
Away13

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Uruguay 1, Saudi Arabia 0.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Uruguay 1, Saudi Arabia 0.

  3. Post update

    Salem Al Dawsari (Saudi Arabia) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  4. Post update

    Foul by Luis Suárez (Uruguay).

  5. Post update

    Corner, Uruguay. Conceded by Mohammed Al-Burayk.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Yasir Al Shahrani (Saudi Arabia).

  7. Post update

    Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Yasir Al Shahrani (Saudi Arabia) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the left. Assisted by Mohammed Al Sahlawi.

  9. Post update

    Attempt saved. Mohammed Kanno (Saudi Arabia) header from the centre of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Salman Al Faraj with a cross.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Saudi Arabia. Conceded by Lucas Torreira.

  11. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Yasir Al Shahrani (Saudi Arabia) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Salman Al Faraj.

  12. Post update

    Attempt missed. Luis Suárez (Uruguay) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Diego Laxalt.

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom right corner.

  14. Substitution

    Substitution, Uruguay. Nahitan Nández replaces Carlos Sánchez.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Mohammed Kanno (Saudi Arabia).

  16. Post update

    Rodrigo Bentancur (Uruguay) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  17. Post update

    Attempt missed. Edinson Cavani (Uruguay) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Lucas Torreira.

  18. Post update

    Attempt missed. Lucas Torreira (Uruguay) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Luis Suárez.

  19. Substitution

    Substitution, Saudi Arabia. Mohammed Al Sahlawi replaces Fahad Al Muwallad.

  20. Post update

    Offside, Uruguay. Martín Cáceres tries a through ball, but Diego Godín is caught offside.

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As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Russia22008176
2Uruguay22002026
3Egypt200214-30
4Saudi Arabia200206-60

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Portugal21104314
2Spain21104314
3Iran21011103
4Morocco200202-20

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1France11002113
2Denmark11001013
3Australia100112-10
4Peru100101-10

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Croatia11002023
2Iceland10101101
3Argentina10101101
4Nigeria100102-20

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Serbia11001013
2Brazil10101101
3Switzerland10101101
4Costa Rica100101-10

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sweden11001013
2Mexico11001013
3South Korea100101-10
4Germany100101-10

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Belgium11003033
2England11002113
3Tunisia100112-10
4Panama100103-30

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Japan11002113
2Senegal11002113
3Poland100112-10
4Colombia100112-10
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