It was exciting though as Portugal’s hopes of an international double were dealt a fatal blow against a gutsy Uruguay on Saturday night, a team with oodles in defence and just enough initiative in attack to see them through.
We were sold a main event of Luis Suarez versus Cristiano Ronaldo but it was Edinson Cavani got everyone talking. His seventh minute header from a fabulous Suarez cross set the tone for the game and kept Fernando Santos’ side in chase for the remainder – even when they did draw level in the second half.
We didn’t get a proper look at Portugal’s gameplan because after that goal, every ounce of their being was directed towards getting one against a side who had not conceded in the World Cup. They struggled massively to trouble Muslera in Uruguay’s goal but did dominate the game, which is just the way Uruguay saw it going when they went ahead.
Their game plan hit a speed bump on 55 minutes, however, when Pepe rose above Diego Godin to head home beyond a helpless Muslera. Cavani’s cool was about to decide things though.
A route one effort saw the ball land to Suarez, who sent the ball across the penalty area into Cavani’s path. With his confidence flowing from the earlier effort, he hit it first time beyond an outstretched Rui Patricio to give Uruguay back their lead and they weren’t about to give it back.Cavani did have to be helped off the field shortly after, however, as he seemed to hurt his calf muslce – the only negative on an otherwise perfect day for the striker.
If scoring one used up a lot of Portugal’s energy, scoring a second would prove beyond them. They tried their best from various angles. There was crosses from the left, and from the right, with speculative efforts thrown in to see if there was anything to be gained from that approach. But Uruguay doubled down on their defensive efforts and slammed the door in Portugal’s face.
In the end, Uruguay held out and have lined themselves up to play France, with a place in the semi-final at stake, next Saturday.