Cavani heads Uruguay into 1-0 halftime lead against Portugal

Cavani heads Uruguay into 1-0 halftime lead against Portugal

Fernando Santos threw on Andre Silva as Portugal tried to find a way through, but defensive duo Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez held a frustrated Ronaldo at bay, the Portugal captain picking up a late booking for dissent as his emotions ran overboard in the closing stages.

It was from another sort of dead-ball delivery that Portugal found a chink in the armour, Pepe equalising with a header from a corner after the break.

Coach Oscar Tabarez spoke ahead of the game about his team's togetherness and deep-rooted unity, with many of his players having first emerged during Uruguay's 2011 Copa America triumph, and their club mentality was on show against Portugal.

No team works harder than Uruguay and they have a tough, disciplined defence marshalled by Diego Godin, a resolute midfield and world-class goalscorers in Cavani and Luis Suarez. Cavani restores Uruguay's lead with a lovely strike. With the help of a red card and an own goal, Uruguay wrapped up group play with a 3-0 rout of host Russian Federation, taking the group with nine points.

"The last three matches we've started showing what we're trying to achieve and it's become apparent on the pitch", he said. The two-time champions secured progression as the only side - and first in 20 years - not to concede a single goal during the group stages of the competition.

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Cristian Rodriguez came on for Bentancur as Uruguay made the first change, Portugal taking off Adrien Silva and bringing on Ricardo Quaresma soon afterwards.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker was in visible pain near the 70-minute mark when Cristiano Ronaldo helped him walk off the field to receive treatment. However, the veteran centre-back's joy was short-lived, as Cavani restored the South Americans' lead with a stunning side-footed finish not long afterwards.

It was thanks to his header that Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 in their decisive group game in Brazil to reach the last 16 of the last World Cup and even though they fell to Colombia in the next round, the memory of the goal lives on. They owe much to Cristiano Ronaldo who is in good form and they may look to him to give them their moments of star quality.

Defeat for the European champions finished Cristiano Ronaldo's hopes of success in Russian Federation just hours after Lionel Messi and Argentina were knocked out, beaten 4-3 by Les Bleus.

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