On the same day Messi was sent home by France in Argentina’s loss, the other “GOAT” at this tournament was also eliminated. And it was only two weeks ago that Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat trick in the same stadium against Spain, stroking his chin after the first goal to imply he was the “greatest of all time.”
This time it was Cavani who instead took the spotlight. He combined with Luis Suarez to complete a series of precision passes to give Uruguay the early advantage with a header in the seventh minute.
In this map from OPTA, we can see how Cavani starts the build-up play from his own half, and attacked the space on Portugal’s six yard box to receive the assist from Suarez. Great goal. In fact, the ball hit his face and bounced in but the combination play was still something to savour.
Tabarez deployed the same XI he used against Russia, playing a 4-3-1-2 with a lot of mobility to midfielder Bentancur between the line of three and the duo of Cavani & Suarez.
The Juventus midfielder scored 579 points in 62 minutes, at an average of nine points per minute. His work off the ball, pressuring passes from Portugal, was remarkable. He also provided a beautiful assistance on Cavani’s second goal too.
“The truth is, it was really exciting,” Cavani said. “There aren’t words to describe this.” Cavani now has three goals at the World Cup, but limped off in the 70th minute with an apparent injury and had to be replaced. He was helped to the sideline with his arm around Ronaldo’s back. One of the most important pictures of the tournament.
Before he got injured, Cavani scored 2,477 points in 73 minutes played, which is 33 points per minute. It was a remarkable performance by Edison, making history for Uruguay with their fourth victory in a row for the first time at a World Cup.
Stopping Ronaldo was the job
Stopping Ronaldo. It was that simple for Uruguay. Ronaldo had company everywhere he went on the field and Portugal’s supporting cast was unable to provide enough help.
And although Uruguay finally conceded a goal, it was the first this year in the team’s seventh match. The Uruguayans had gone 598 minutes since November 2017 without allowing a goal. It was thanks to a great job from defenders Gimenez & Godin, who are the perfect marriage in an organized defensive system.
Taking a look at Godin’s Dashboard, there’s a lot of important work off the ball, pressing on Portugal’s right side. He also made good long passes, including a 98 points chance created. In total he scored 1,121 points in 96 minutes, at an average of 11.6 points per minute.
Gimenez had more important work to do, because it was on his side of the pitch that Cristiano Ronaldo played, and he did a superb job defensively.
On the TOTAL dashboard, he scored 978 points. But if we look at his defensive actions, we can understand how the Atlético defender was crucial to stop Portugal’s star man.
Uruguay, a nation of just three million, is now back in the last eight of the World Cup for the seventh time. And Ronaldo, like Messi, has headed for the exit.
Meanwhile, two duos are representing the Charrua tradition on classic good football: Gimenez & Godin at the back and Suarez & Cavani at the front. These four players are pushing Uruguay forward when nobody believed in them at Russia’s World Cup.