Samara - Uruguay burnished their World Cup credentials with a 3-0 victory over 10-man Russian Federation on Monday, finishing top of Group A with a flawless record while damping the hopes of the tournament hosts, who had to settle for second. And it will no doubt get harder following the match against Luis Suarez and Uruguay because the top finishers in Group A go on to face the best two from Group B, which includes Portugal and Spain.
Russia, who had already qualified along with Uruguay for the last 16 after winning their first two games, played much of the match with 10 men after Igor Smolnikov was sent off for two yellow cards after 36 minutes.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia managed their first win in Russian Federation after beating Egypt 2-1 with a last-gasp victor that eclipsed Egyptian talisman Mohamed Salah's 22nd minute goal.
The veteran forward said that while Gimenez is an important member of the squad, there are other quality players who can replace him in Monday's match.
Edinson Cavani eventually got the third goal for Uruguay in the last minute of regulation time with a close-range finish after Diego Godin's initial header was saved. Written off as no-hopers before the World Cup, Russia head to the Volga River city of Samara for a game which will see the victor secure top spot in Group A following the elimination of Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This prediction was based on the free-flowing football that Russian Federation had played till then, and the holes that were evident in the Uruguayan midfield.
England's opening World Cup game against Tunisia, when Kane scored a stoppage-time goal to seal a 2-1 win, was the most watched program in Britain in 2018 with a peak audience of 18.3 million - more than last month's royal wedding when Prince Harry married Meghan Markle.
Uruguay midfielder Lucas Torreira made his first start of the World Cup.
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Finally, Russia's hopes for salvation buried Smolnikov in the first half received two yellow cards.
Spain won the group after its 2-2 draw with Morocco.
"Our prime task initially was to clear the group stage and the next task was to win all of the group stage matches", the 31-year-old Uruguayan striker said.
"The team is a mechanism and everyone has to be a part and we have to create comfortable conditions for every player to demonstrate his best abilities".
Uruguay was making its 12th appearance at the World Cup, which it won in 1930 and 1950.
Suarez fired the South Americans in front with a sweetly-struck free-kick just 10 minutes in at the Samara Arena before Denis Cheryshev deflected Diego Laxalt's effort past goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev 13 minutes later to double the advantage. Three goals to the good.