Uruguay edge Saudi Arabia to advance

Marcus Newton
June 23, 2018

Two goals were conceded in stoppage time, making the scoreline more lopsided, but they left Juan Antonio Pizzi's team with a mountain to climb against Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and their star-studded teammates.

Saudi Arabia's World Cup campaign begun on poor note as they went down to hosts Russian Federation 5-0 in the opening match of the 2018 edition.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez paid tribute to Luis Suarez as the team prepared for Wednesday's World Cup match against Saudi Arabia - the 100th worldwide appearance for the Barcelona striker.

It was the Barcelona striker's 52nd goal for his country in that century of games.

He was asked if the agreement which saw three key Saudi players, Salem Al-Darsawi, Yahya Al Shehri and Fahed Al-Muwallad spend five months in Spain, where they played less than 100 minutes between them had seen them lose match fitness.

Uruguay won their World Cup 2018 opener with a 1-0 victory against Egypt. He fell back to defend and raced forward on the counterattack.

The 31-year-old was largely anonymous during Uruguay's opening win against Egypt, and though far from the effervescent figure that Premier League and La Liga audiences are familiar with, he remains a hard opponent to pin down over 90 minutes.

"His sense of responsibility is remarkable", Tabarez said of Suarez.

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Saudi Arabia's last outing against the host was nothing less than a horror show, 5-0.

"We need to fine-tune some things, but we are more than proud because for three World Cups in a row we have advanced to the knockout round, so we want to enjoy this attractive moment", Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said.

Midfielder Taiseer al Jassam admits Saudi Arabia have a reputation to restore. "We will have to match them for their quality and their energy".

Uruguay was the only South American team to win its opening match in a tournament where upsets have been commonplace.

In the 86th minute, Cavani got a chance for a second for Uruguay as he picked up the ball on the halfway line and ran it all the way into the box, but was stopped by the Saudi defense. Abdullah Otayf also makes a start.

Many fans took to social media to joke that they now knew what FIFA stood for - "Football Is not For Arabs".

Cavani's partner-in-crime Luis Suarez had a chance of his own minutes later after being played in behind the defence, but he only found the side-netting.

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