Uruguay progress with lackluster Saudi Arabia win | Sports| German football and major international sports news | DW | 20.06.2018
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World Cup 2018

Uruguay progress with lackluster Saudi Arabia win

Uruguay and Russia will both feature in the last 16 of the World Cup. Uruguay's unimpressive 1-0 win against Saudi Arabia decides Group A with a game to spare. Egypt and the Saudis are eliminated.

Uruguay 1 - 0 Saudi Arabia
(Suarez 23')

Uruguay never really got their motor running in the scorching Sochi sunshine, allowing underdogs Saudi Arabia to dominate possession for most of the game. An early goalkeeping error from a corner permitted Luis Suarez to mark his 100th cap with a World Cup goal, and that strike ultimately proved to be enough. Suarez said after the game that securing three points was the team's sole priority.

Despite having more of the ball, Saudi Arabia in turn struggled to break down the experienced Uruguayan defense, failing to salvage the point they needed to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout phases alive. 

Wednesday's result effectively decides Group A. Russia and Uruguay, both on 6 points, will progress to the last 16, while Egypt and Saudi Arabia cannot after losing their opening two matches. Russia and Uruguay will play to decide which of them win the group on Monday.

As it happened

FULL TIME

90+3' Corner Uruguay, they're in no rush to take it! The defenders are staying back.

90+1' Four additional minutes to be played. Because it's been so good we're all just clamoring for more.

90' A solid set piece, finding substitute Kanno at the back post. However, his header was meat and drink for Muslera in Uruguay's goal.

90' Late corner for Saudi Arabia. Chance for redemption?

86' Big chance for Cavani to double Uruguay's lead after confusion in the Saudi defense. He dribbled round the last man, appeared to have lost control of the ball but was then able to regain it and shoot. Good save. That was almost, almost, a moment of excitement.

82' One last sub for Uruguay, Carlos Sanchez makes way for Nahitan Nandez.

75' Sub Saudi Arabia: Hatan Bahbri off, Mohamed Kanno on.

72' Uruguay really look ready to settle for 1-0. Saudi Arabia still dominating possession and all 11 Uruguayans are getting back behind the ball. If the sign of a tournament winner is getting three points despite not showing up for work on a given day, give Suarez and co. the trophy already!

59' Double substitution in midfield for Uruguay. Cristian Rodriguez makes way for Diego Laxalt, and Matias Vecino hands over to Lucas Toerreira. It's scorching out there in Sochi. 

54' Saudi Arabia with a contender for the most clear-cut offside call of the competition so far. The striker had just realized how far in front of the line he was and checked his run when his teammate played the ball through regardless. No need for VAR to verify that one. 

51' Dangerous free kick, hit low from distance by Luis Suarez. Mohammed Alowais is able to reach it and palm it away.

46' Off we go again! Here's to a better second half.

HT analysis: Not a game for the history books so far. Uruguay seem absent, lacking fluidity with the ball and lacking urgency without it. Luis Suarez was in the right place at the right time on his 100th Uruguay appearance to capitalize on a goalkeeping error, but he and Edinson Cavani have barely been in the game otherwise. Saudi Arabia have looked willing but not necessarily able to break down the heavy favorites during their extended periods of possession with no Uruguayan pressure.

HALF TIME

45' Two additional minutes to play. Currently, by the way, Saudi Arabia have had more possession. 

44' Sub Saudi Arabia: Taiseer Aljassam can't continue; Hussain Almoqahwi replaces him.

41' Taiseer Aljassam is hurt and judging by the physio's hand signals, his day is done. He's a key player for the Saudis, with more than 130 caps in midfield.

32' Cavani's back up and running. 

31' Cavani's down injured. Top fair play from the Saudis to give up a promising attack putting the ball out so he can be treated.

29' Huge chance for Hatan Bahbri to tie things up. Diego Godin misjudged a cross and allowed the ball through to the Saudi number 9, who couldn't keep his shot down.

26' Suarez marks his 100th Uruguay appearance with a World Cup goal. For Alowais in goal, it's not a pleasant memory from his 10th national team game.

23' Dreadful goalkeeping error as the Saudi keeper Mohammed Alowais tried to claim an in-swinging corner and missed. The ball fell to Luis Suarez in front of an open goal, he doesn't miss those very often.

Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia - Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don, Russia - June 20, 2018 Uruguay's Luis Suarez scores their first goal (Reuters/M. Brindicci)

The entire throng (left in frame) missed the corner, and Suarez was able to scoop it up

23' GOAL! Luis Suarez from a corner.

21' Saudi Arabia fire off a shot at the other end, blasting it just a few inches over the crossbar. 

20' Another half-chance for Cavani, but his shot is deflected behind for a corner. The subsequent set piece was similarly squandered.

17' Uruguay are playing like they're feeling the pressure, keen to get the job done before meeting Russia in their last group game. They lack rhythm with the ball, and are astonishingly passive without it.

13' First shot of the game falls to Edinson Cavani. Great long diagonal to the left flank, a low cross to the PSG man, and Cavani fired it over the bar.

6' A slow start to the game: Uruguay's attacks yet to create an end product, Saudi Arabia yet to create attacks.

KICK OFF! 

16:44 Time for a look at the lineups this evening. Having shipped five against Russia, now Saudi Arabia have the unenviable task of trying to contain Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. 

16:42 Hello and welcome to our live coverage of the fourth Group A fixture of the World Cup. Saudi Arabia need a result to keep their hopes in the competition alive, while Uruguay can secure a spot in the next round with victory. 

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