Uruguay inflicted a bruising reality check to Russia ahead of their likely Round of 16 clash with Spain, defeating them 3-0 in Saransk.

The hosts rested talisman Alexandr Golovin, which proved decisive in the outcome.

Oscar Tabarez opted to change system to enhance their chance creation with unflattering performances so far. Despite two wins, more was expected of Uruguay, if they can provide more support to Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez they can be a threat.

The first half was a controlled showing from the South Americans with their archetypal forward finding the net again. Luis Suarez drilled a free kick past Igor Akinfeev, not helped by Sergei Ignashevich kindly providing the gap for Suarez.

Diego Laxalt’s deflected effort kept the home crowd quiet, enhancing their lead and suddenly their charged momentum was crashing down before the knock-out stage.

It went from bad to worse as Igor Smolnikov was shown a second yellow for bringing down Laxalt, no wonder Vladimir Putin wasn’t present.

The second half wasn’t a spectacle, Artem Dzyuba got fans off their feet as he bared down on goal, cut inside past the defender but his shot sailed wide.

There was one more goal to send Russia off to the Luzhniki at the weekend, but it came from Cavani who tapped in following Akinfeev’s save from a Diego Godin header.

Elsewhere, Mohammed Salah was on the scoresheet for Egypt in Volgograd in a 1-1 draw with Saudi Arabia, marking a poor World Cup for his nation.

But there was a high point for a team-mate of Salah, Essam El-Hadary became the oldest player in World Cup history, he capped it by saving a penalty.

Saudi (Credit: CNN Sport)
A memorable match for Saudi Arabia (Credit: CNN Sport)

Although Al-Faraj converted, shock, a second Saudi penalty to ensure they took a point home from Russia.

As 94 minutes struck, Salem Aldawsari finished the final attack of the game by volleying a winner for Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side.

Uruguay top Group A with three wins, without conceding. Russia ended poorly but will await the winners of Group B, whilst it proved a miserable finale to a memorable season for Mo Salah, Egypt finish bottom without a point.

 

 

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