Portugal 2-0 Uruguay: Bruno Fernandes scores twice as Cristiano Ronaldo claims goal to qualify for last 16
Bruno Fernandes scored twice to send Portugal through to the knockout stages from Group H with a game to spare after beating Uruguay 2-0.
Cristiano Ronaldo thought he had scored a second-half header although the striker did not get a touch to Fernandes’ cross which ended up in the net.
“The feeling I had was that Cristiano touched the ball,” Fernandes said. “I was passing the ball to him.”
Portugal’s deserved lead came just a minute after a protester had invaded the pitch carrying a rainbow flag and wearing a t-shirt which read “Save Ukraine” and “Respect for Iranian women”.
Uruguay almost equalised when substitute Maxi Gomez hit a post before Luis Suarez missed from close-range – but they were punished in the 90th minute as a VAR check saw Jose Maria Gimenez adjudged to have handled the ball in the area and, with Ronaldo having been brought off, Fernandes tucked away the spot kick.
Portugal dominated a drab first half yet Uruguay had the best chance when Rodrigo Bentancur wonderfully weaved through the defence, but was denied one of the great World Cup goals by goalkeeper Diogo Costa.
Nuno Mendes left the pitch in tears after being forced off injured although things did improve for Portugal in the second half once the game had restarted following the protest from a supporter.
Fernandes floated a cross into the box for Ronaldo, who had a clear header at goal. However, he did not get a touch to the ball which carried on through into the corner.
Uruguay rallied with 15 minutes remaining and started playing some of their best football. Gomez struck a post with a first-time effort from the edge of the box, Suarez stabbed an effort into the side-netting when he should have scored and Giorgian de Arrascaeta had a chip saved by Costa.
They were made to pay for their missed chances at the end of normal time when Gimenez’s trailing hand touched the ball as he lunged into a tackle on Fernandes, who dispatched the penalty awarded by referee Alireza Faghani after he was instructed to check the pitchside monitor.
Fernandes’ almost completed a perfect night as his low drive from the edge of the area came back off a post.
What does the result mean?
Portugal are through to the last 16, along with France and Brazil, but still need a point to be declared Group H winners. Ghana are the only remaining rival for top spot, but the Africans could still finish behind both South Korea and Uruguay.
For those two teams, the equation is simple: win or go home. But even winning may not be enough. Victories for both Uruguay and South Korea would leave them level on four points and separated only on goal difference, but a win for South Korea would be academic if Ghana beat Uruguay.
A point for Ghana coupled with a win for Korea would also make goal difference – and possibly goals scored – the ultimate adjudicator.
Opta stats: Uruguay struggling at both ends
Portugal have won their opening two group games of a World Cup for the third time, also doing so in 1966 and 2006 when they reached the semi-finals on both occasions.
Uruguay have failed to score in three consecutive World Cup games for only the second time ever, also drawing a blank in three straight games in the competition between 1986 and 1990.
Only Brazil (0) and Ecuador (1) have faced fewer opposition shots on target at the 2022 World Cup than Uruguay (3), who conceded with two of the three they faced today.
Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in eight goals in his last five appearances for Portugal, scoring five and assisting three.
What else happened at the World Cup on Monday?
A manic Monday at the World Cup kicked off with Cameroon coming back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 with Serbia in Group G. It is a result that does little to help either side, who both needed to win to boost their qualification hopes although head into their last matches still with a chance of finishing second.
The goals continued to flow as Ghana secured a crucial 3-2 victory over South Korea in Group H, leaving them with all to play for in their final match against Uruguay.
Brazil secured a place in the knockout stages by edging past Switzerland 1-0 thanks to Casemiro’s goal.
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