The problem with staying up until 1130pm for kick off is also staying awake for the next two hours…..
It was the top of the table group A clash, a game between two highly skilled teams but also a game that did not influence who qualified for the round of sixteen.
Russia came out with high intensity laying hard tackles and attacking moves and not letting Uruguay settle. However when Gazinskiy collided into Bentancur on the edge of the box Uruguay earnt a free kick nine minutes in. Suarez stepped up and drilled the free-kick into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal, beyond the reach of Akinfeev.
Two minutes later Russia attempted to even the scores when Dzyuba headed the ball down to Cheryshev and Uruguyan keeper Muslera was forced to make a save. Both teams remained fierce and determined, Russia playing with the confidence they have had all tournament.
Another goal to Uruguay! Uruguay was awarded a corner, which was initially headed away. Laxalt was there to strike the loose ball, which was then deflected off Cheryshev. Giving Akinfeev no chance of saving the goal! Uruguay has not scored two goals before half time in a World Cup game since 1966. This second goal gives Uruguay a boost, and Russia seem to be becoming more frustrated. Uruguay tries to capitalise from another set piece but Dzyuba is able to clear the ball for a corner. Uruguay come close to a third from this corner set piece, but Akinfeev manages to save this one.
Suddenly it becomes worse for Russia, Smolnikov is shown a second yellow, and is sent off. It has only been seven minutes since his first yellow, which he earnt after colliding with Cavani. This time he makes a poor decision and lunges in on Laxalt, not a wise move when already on a yellow. There is now only ten minutes left in the half, how much more action will we see? This has already been a lively half. Uruguay spend the last ten minutes using the extra space to knock around the ball and ease off the accelerator a bit in the heat, whilst Russia look frustrated, and need halftime to regroup.
It’s half time, here I make a pivotal mistake and close my eyes briefly…..Except I miss the first five minutes of the second half. Now that I am back with the game, Russia seems to be holding on and is managing to hold Uruguay, but they are finding it hard to push forward.
Uruguay almost seems content with a 2-0 win and finishing top of the group, they look to be trying to conserve some energy. Russia however keeps trying to push forward, but they are lacking a play maker at the front.
Cavani goes down and appeals for a penalty, but neither the referee nor VAR are interested. Cavani is has not scored this tournament and continues to work hard looking for that elusive goal.
Seventy one minutes in and Dzyuba is down in the box after colliding with Godin. The infringement is referred to VAR, there was contact between the arms of the two players but it was unintentional, play goes on.
Russia misses some chances as do Uruguay. Russia is playing well to even create chances in the heat and with only ten men, and both keepers are playing their roll well and making saves. Cavani is still looking for that goal then suddenly right on the ninety minute mark, Cavani shoots, Cavani scores! Uruguay making the most of that corner, Akinfeev initially making the save but Cavani is able to put away the rebound.
There is four minutes of extra time, Uruguay make their final substitute, but no changes are made to the scoreline. It’s Uruguay victorious 3-0 over Russia. This is the first time Uruguay have won all three group games at a World Cup finals.