90 min +6: Rui Patricio can’t get a head on the ball. Uruguay hack clear!
87 min: Fernandes has another shot from distance. Nope.
86 min: This is attack versus defence now. Quaresma crosses deep from the right. Andre Silva meets it at the far post, but can’t find a team-mate.
85 min: Joao Mario is replaced by Fernandes, who is soon shooting for goal, 25 yards out on the right. Muslera claims easily.
84 min: Pereira tries to brush his way past Godin, down the inside-right channel. He goes to ground in the area, and wants a penalty, but he’s never going to get that decision. The ball apologetically trundles out for a goal kick.
83 min: Quaresma sends a lovely cross into the Uruguay box from the left. It’s inches away from Ronaldo’s head. Bernardo Silva then bustles in from the right, but his low cross is hacked clear by Torreira. “Why are the Portuguese insisting on playing these short corner routines?” wonders Prateek Chadha. “Especially when the two or three times they have actually managed to put a cross in, the Uruguayan defenders have been in all kinds of strife.”
81 min: A short corner routine comes to nothing. Ronaldo then has a dribble down a cul-de-sac on the right. Uruguay are holding firm right now.
80 min: Bernardo Silva makes his way to the byline down the left. His low centre is hacked behind for another corner by Gimenez. Before the set piece can be taken, Nandez is replaced by Sanchez.
78 min: Ronaldo shoots from the best part of 30 yards. The effort is easily blocked. The first sign of Portuguese desperation.
77 min: Quaresma wins a corner off Laxalt down the right. Ronaldo launches himself at the ball, as it flies past the near post, but doesn’t connect. Guerreiro has a whack from distance, but it’s no use.
75 min: Cavani is on the bench, grimacing, as ice packs are applied to his shin. The whole of Uruguay will have their fingers crossed, should they make it through to the quarters.
73 min: Cavani has picked up a knock, and limps out of the game. Such a shame after his stellar contribution this evening. He’s replaced by Stuani. Meanwhile Portugal make another change, swapping Guedes for Andre Silva.
72 min: Ronaldo breaks down the left, but there’s nobody in the box in support. Another Portuguese attack ends limply.
70 min: And yet they should be level again. Muslera fumbles a cross from the left. He tries to reclaim the ball as it bounces around the area, but falls to the ground. The ball breaks to Bernardo Silva, on the edge of the area. The net’s unguarded, but he sends his shot over the bar. It wasn’t a complete sitter – he had to fire through a crowded area – but it’s a bad miss from a player of his quality.
69 min: Quaresma probes down the right, but not with any great speed, and Portugal’s attack fizzles out. They look a little deflated right now.
67 min: Portugal win a corner down the right. Uruguay fail to clear their lines convincingly, and Joao Mario enters the box from the left. But he can’t get a shot or cross away. Uruguay clear with more purpose at the second opportunity.
66 min: That’s not a bad response by Uruguay to conceding their first goal of this tournament, and their first goal in 2018, eh?
65 min: … while Adrien Silva is replaced by Quaresma.
64 min: Bentancur is replaced by Rodriguez …
GOAL! Uruguay 2-1 Portugal (Cavani 62)
It’s another Uruguayan beauty! This is such a sweet finish. And again so simple. Muslera launches long. Bentancur takes control and moves menacingly towards the Portugal box. He’s got Cavani on the left, and rolls a perfectly weighted pass towards him. Cavani opens his body and sidefoots powerfully into the right-hand side of the net. That’s a wonderful goal!
60 min: Guedes shoots to earn a corner. Adrien earns another corner. Some head tennis allows Muslera to claim. But Uruguay are finding it difficult to get upfield right now.
59 min: The equaliser has led to some uncertainty in the Uruguay defence. Joao Mario dribbles into their area down the right. His cross isn’t up to much, but a few holes are opening up now.
57 min: Laxalt tries to re-energise Uruguay with a burst down the left. He’s clattered from behind by Carvalho, who escapes serious censure. This referee doesn’t get agitated by much.
GOAL! Uruguay 1-1 Portugal (Pepe 55)
The ball’s whipped in from the left. Ronaldo leaps, but the ball sails over his head. No matter, because just behind him, Pepe has ghosted into space! He rises and blasts a header past a helpless Muslera. Uruguay were uncharacteristically dozy in defence there.
54 min: Bernardo Silva fizzes down the inside right and fires into the middle. The ball ricochets to the edge of the box. Adrien Silva shoots. It’s deflected wide left. Corner. From which …
52 min: Bernardo Silva grafts to earn a corner down the right off Laxalt. The set piece is worked out to Guerreiro, who tries to send a rising shot into the top left from distance. But the effort’s well off target.
50 min: Guedes drifts in from the left wing. For a second, it looks like he’ll have time to get a shot away, but Nandez steps in to gently relieve him of possession. Guedes fouls his opponent in frustration. It’s not worked out for the Valencia youngster tonight. Yet.
48 min: Rui Patricio plays a poor pass out towards Pepe, who nearly loses out to Suarez. Fortunately for Portugal, the ball breaks off the Uruguay striker and out for a goal kick. But that was nearly another calamitous mistake. Some nerves on display out there.
46 min: Fonte tries to usher a long ball back to his keeper, and nearly has his pocket picked by the buzzing Bentancur. For a second, that threatened to become a disastrous start to the second period for the European champions.
HALF TIME: Uruguay 1-0 Portugal
Cavani chases after a long hoof down the left, but can only shank a weak volley well wide. And that’s that for the first half. It’s not been a classic, but Uruguay’s goal was a thing of real beauty, some spectacular long-distance interplay between Suarez and Cavani. Portugal have 45 minutes to crack the Uruguay code; the sky blues haven’t been breached in six-and-a-half matches. It promises to be a thrilling second half. Go nowhere!
45 min: Suarez is revived by the magic sponge. Portugal waste their corner. There will be two additional minutes of play in this first half.
44 min: Guerreiro elbows Suarez in the back as the pair go up for a high ball. Uruguay want a free kick for the foul, but for some reason don’t get one. Portugal race up the other end with Suarez prone and loud whistling ringing around the stadium. Ronaldo wins a corner on the right. Uruguay take advantage of the break in play to engage the referee in philosophical debate.
42 min: From tight on the right touchline, Nandez hoicks a speculative shot high into the crowd behind the goal. It’d have been worth something in rugby.
41 min: Uruguay seem happy to turn this into a grind, which is what this has suddenly become. Does this count as breaking news? It doesn’t really, does it.
39 min: Another cross into the Uruguayan mixer is easily dealt with by Godin. He even brushes off an accidental clash of heads with Guedes. “The prospect of Pepe and Ronaldo imploding if it stays like this with ten minutes to go is just mouthwatering beyond belief,” salivates Andy Tuohy, looking forward to some traditional Saturday night light entertainment on ITV.
37 min: Bernardo Silva slides in on Cavani, and is fortunate not to see yellow. The referee is in an easy-going mood tonight.
35 min: Caceres dribbles in from the right and thinks about shooting from the edge of the box. But he checks back and lays off for Nandez, who crosses. Cavani, coming in from the left, tries to tee himself up for a shot, but gets too much on his chest-down and runs the ball out for a goal kick.
33 min: Uruguay haven’t done a whole lot in attack since going ahead, but when they do press forward they look dangerous. Suarez bursts in from the left and nearly breaks through the Portugal back line; Caceres and Nandez combine on the other flank and are very close to opening their opponents up.
31 min: Guerreiro slips a pass forward for Guedes, who is bundled over to the left of the D by Bentancur. That’s clumsy and not so clever. A free kick in a dangerous spot, and Ronaldo’s eyes have lit up.
29 min: Portugal press and probe, and push Uruguay back into their final third. But Uruguay’s shape is solid, and there’s no route through. Eventually Caceres hassles Guerreiro into running the ball out of play. A sixty-second defensive masterclass.
28 min: Pereira drags Cavani back, and is slightly fortunate to escape a booking. A slight lull, so the crowd entertain themselves with some Icelandic thunderclaps.
26 min: Carvalho takes, hooking the free kick into the mixer. Fonte and Ronaldo both attack the ball; both miss it. Portugal have seen much more of the ball, but have yet to force Muslera into serious action.
25 min: Bernardo Silva is knocked to the ground by Godin as he tears down the right. A free kick, and a chance for Portugal to load the box.
24 min: Joao Mario curls one in from the left. Guedes attempts to trap, spin and shoot, but can only kick the ball up onto his flailing arm. A free kick that releases some pressure on Uruguay.
22 min: Suarez threads a low one under the jumping wall, towards the bottom right. Rui Patricio does extremely well to get down and stick out a strong hand to parry clear. Bentancur tries to keep the move going, latching onto the loose ball out on the right. But his delivery doesn’t find a sky-blue shirt, and eventually the attack fizzles out.
21 min: Suarez zips towards the Portugal box, and is upended by Pepe. That’s a free kick in a very dangerous position, just outside the area. Suarez gets up, and very much likes the look of it.
19 min: Bernardo Silva slips a pass down the inside-right channel for Guedes, who bursts into the Uruguay area. Guedes spins and dinks a cross into the middle. Ronaldo is winding his neck back, ready to fire one of those trademark bullet headers, but Gimenez reads it well and heads clear.
18 min: Pereira makes good down the right and reaches the byline. He then whistles a low cross towards the near post. It’s travelling, and Muslera does very well to gather without drama. Portugal have responded well to going behind; they’re enjoying the lion’s share of possession right now.
16 min: Guedes has his first sight of goal, but his shot from the edge of the box is weak, and deflects through to Muslera in dribbly fashion. It’s a nice, open match.
14 min: Cavani returns the favour to Suarez, releasing him into a little bit of space down the right. Suarez enters the box, but can’t sort his feet out to get a shot away. His eventual effort is deflected out for another corner; once again the set piece isn’t worthy of comment.
12 min: Ronaldo cuts in from the left and has a belt. The effort’s blocked pretty much at source by Torreira. Brave, because that looks a sore smack. He’ll be fine to continue, but he just needs to roll about a bit first, and make a quick adjustment in his shorts.
11 min: Portugal come back at Uruguay with purpose. From a corner on the right, Guerreiro loops a cross to the far stick, where Fonte leaps highest. His header, from the left-hand corner of the six-yard box, flashes across the face of goal. A bad miss, though it’d have been surely ruled out had it been on target, because Fonte was shoving Vecino in the back.
9 min: That was some long-distance one-two! Just a picture-perfect goal. Or maybe not quite … Cavani might have converted that chance with his face, as opposed to his forehead. But this is a mere quibble. That was a sensational goal.
Suarez finds Cavani at the back post to put Uruguay up 1-0 early in the game! pic.twitter.com/BUlHpqWSI0— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 30, 2018
GOAL! Uruguay 1-0 Portugal (Cavani 7)
This is simple, and so brilliant! Cavani, out deep on the right, launches a crossfield pass for Suarez on the left, and peels off. Suarez cuts inside, whips a high cross to the far post, where Cavani, romping infield, smashes a header into the top right!
6 min: Uruguay haven’t let in a goal for six games; can Portugal’s free-scoring talisman put an end to that run? Not yet. There’s a little space for Bernardo Silva, down the right. He turns and tees the ball up for Ronaldo, who sends a low screamer goalwards from 20 yards. It flies straight down Muslera’s throat.
4 min: Nandez and Suarez one-two down the right, the former earning the first corner of the game. Before it can be taken, Godin shoves Pepe in the chest, in the playground style; Pepe falls on his behind. Pure slapstick. The actual corner is a non-event. Here’s Charles Antaki: “Portugal’s change strip is innocuous – white, fair enough. Their real disappointment is giving up on the national-flag-colour-oxblood first-choice shirt of yore. Unique. Scores play in red; who else plays in the colour of blood?” Javier Mascherano? Terry Butcher?
2 min: Ronaldo performs a fancy shuffle down the left. It confuses Uruguay. That allows Joao Mario to scuttle towards the byline and cross deep. Bernardo Silva rises at the far post, but his header is way off target. Both sides have put a marker down already, so that’s promising!
1 min: Uruguay are on the front foot almost immediately, Suarez bothering Fonte down the right, Bentancur winning a ball in the middle of the park he’d no right to win. Nothing much comes of it, but it’s a statement of intent.
The teams are out! A cracking atmosphere under the lights at the Fisht Stadium; it’s been one gloriously noisy World Cup. Pennants are exchanged, hands are clasped, patriotic songs are sung, White Stripes riffs are blasted, coins are tossed. We’ll be off very soon! And let’s hope the players remember the average number of goals per game during the knockout stage currently stands at seven, and entertain accordingly. Admittedly the sample size is only one, but the point remains. No pressure, lads!
And we’re off! Portugal get the party started. “Uruguay’s Laxalt sounds like something out of the medicine cabinet, and he looks a quality player from what I saw in the group stage. Fast-acting, fizzy, and doesn’t go down too easy.” Peter Oh, ladies and gentlemen. He’s here all week. Try the Imodium.