The last 16 of the World Cup are now set, with France and Brazil joined by Portugal. This comes after a stunning match with Portugal, who beat Uruguay 2-0 to progress. Bruno Fernandes was the star of the show for Portugal, scoring two brilliant second-half goals that will be long remembered.
For Uruguay, this must feel like something of a missed opportunity. They were given little chance coming into this game but did at least manage to create one or two good opportunities in attack. However, they never looked capable of troubling the Portuguese defense overly and eventually succumbed to an impressive performance from Fernando Santos’ team.
There is no doubt that the match between Portugal and Uruguay was close, with both sides displaying their skills and determination until the very end. However, Portugal came out on top, thanks to some fantastic goals from midfield player Bruno Fernandes. This victory secures them a place in the last 16 of the World Cup.
Portugal dominated for the whole of the game against a stagnant Uruguay, who lacked initiative and seemed out of sorts. Until the second half, Portugal had trouble producing clear-cut chances.
Early showboating by Ronaldo, who used his shoulder to deflect a long throw into William Carvalho’s path so that his powerful volley would go over the crossbar, set the tone for the game.
Both teams looked evenly matched in the match’s early stages, with Portugal creating a few chances but struggling to convert them into goals. However, Uruguay came closest to scoring near the end of the first half when Rodrigo Bentancur ran almost the entire field length and fired off a low shot that goalkeeper Diogo Costa blocked.
A few minutes later, Bentancur was once more in the center of the action when Darwin Nunez’s close-range attempt to convert from Darwin Olivera’s left-wing cross was unsuccessful.
Portugal fought valiantly to score, and Felix nearly did so in minute 52 when he fired low into the side netting.
After rising to head the ball, Cristiano Ronaldo embraced the accomplishment. However, they did manage to break the deadlock two minutes later when Fernandes’ cross flew past the rooted Sergio Rochet of Uruguay.
Now that the first goal, which Ronaldo had joyfully claimed as his own, actually belonged to Fernandes, who twice came dangerously close to scoring a hat-trick in the closing seconds – it remains to be seen whether or not Ronaldo will continue smiling awkwardly.
The victory marked the third occasion in World Cup history that Portugal had won two straight group stage games, with the first two victories resulting in streaks into the semifinals. Fernandes downplayed suggestions of his leading position and stated that Portugal next game against South Korea and a perfect nine points were his main priorities.
“What’s important is we were able to go on to the next round and very important was the win against a tough opponent,” he said.
“Our objective is to think match after match and we have to do our best because we obviously want to win all the matches.”
Dark horses in successive World Cups Uruguay didn’t resemble the team that eliminated Portugal in the round of 16 in Russia in 2018. Uruguay found it difficult to get into the game as the European team applied constant pressure from the outset and never let up. This was a fantastic performance by Portugal, who will now fancy their chances of progressing further in the World Cup.