Russia 2018 Watch: Can Uruguay tame hosts?
PUBLISHED: 07:46 21 June 2018 | UPDATED: 07:51 21 June 2018
Read our World Cup blog which will be featuring over the coming weeks. Sophie Morton reviews match two on day seven of the tournament.
The biggest question I had ahead of this game, incidentally, didn’t concern either Uruguay or Saudi Arabia.
But I hoped it might go some way to trying to answer it: Just how good are Russia?
After their 5-0 battering of the Saudis in the opening game and essentially sending Egypt home with a 3-1 victory, could the host nation really be this year’s dark horses or have they just been made to look good by beating two poor teams?
But after watching a rather deflated Uruguay playing a rather defensive Saudi Arabia, I’m not sure I’m any the wiser.
It was Luis Suarez who put Uruguay ahead, having managed to go 23 minutes without taking a bite out of one of the Saudi players. After deciding he couldn’t wait until the end of the game to eat an Italian four years ago, he must have been better fed this time.
Was the goal good? I’ve got no idea, I missed it.
That’s the problem with the World Cup. The 1pm games, well, I can watch a half if I time my lunch break tactically. The 7pm ones I’ll be home from work for. But the 4pm ones are the worst for trying to watch around work.
And as always seems to happen whenever you want to get out on time – in my case, 3.30pm – there’s something that means you can’t. And by missing my train, I missed the goal.
Thankfully, there’s such a thing as a replay. A Carlos Sanchez corner (no, not the same one that got sent off for Colombia – though part of me hopes the two South American nations come up against each other later on in the competition purely because I’d love to see how the commentators cope) turned in at the far post.
Not the most spectacular goal Suarez will ever score, but important nonetheless in that it sent his country through to the knock-out phase.
And if anyone was going to claim glory in the game, it was always going to be Suarez.
With the Barcelona man collecting his 100th cap, there was no way he’d want the (probably) shirtless torso of Portugal and Real Madrid goal machine Cristiano Ronaldo all over the back pages.
It took until just before the hour mark for changes to be made. Substitute Lucas Torreira’s dad was in the stadium, covering the match for Uruguayan media.
It’s a shame the midfielder – who is rumoured to be on his way to Arsenal - didn’t score. If he had, I’d have expected the BBC to get Torreira Sr into the studio immediately for a chat and made him a cult hero in much the same way South African swimmer Chad Le Clos’s dad was in the London 2012 Olympics.
Uruguay had the better of the chances in the rest of the game but were unable to find the back of the net, thanks to a combination of poor finishing (sound familiar, England fans?) and some stoic defending from a Saudi team desperate not to be humiliated for the second game in a row.
To give them credit, they did go forward, but none of the chances seemed to really trouble keeper Fernando Muslera.
It leaves Group A almost done and dusted with one round of games still to play, with Uruguay and Russia facing off on Monday to decide who tops the table. Will that match finally provide an answer?
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