Jose Gimenez saved the blushes of Group A favourites Uruguay with a dramatic header two minutes from time as they defeated Egpyt.
Egypt had the better of a quiet first half, as their organised play and efficient breakouts looked to threaten a below-par Uruguay side.
Luis Suarez had two fantastic chances in a disappointing display by his standards, hitting the side netting from close range in the first half before failing to get a shot off when put through by Cavani in the second.
The PSG forward had two superb volleys stopped himself, again one either side of half time, with the first headed clear and the latter stopped by a fantastic save from Egyption Ahmed El-Shenawy.
It looked like the spoils would be shared when Cavani struck the post with a powerful free kick with only five minutes remaining, but Giminez popped up to send Uruguay second behind hosts Russia.