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Uruguay Secure Qualification to Knockout Stages

Following yesterday’s results, Uruguay have qualified for the knockout stage of the 2018 World Cup after beating Saudi Arabia.

The 1 – 0 victory was enough to progress from the group stage and means that Russia have qualified as well.

The only goal came from Luis Suarez in the 23rd minute. Saudi Arabia failed to deal with a corner and the ball fell to him 6 yards out. In spite of an iffy first game against Egypt, Suarez was never going to miss that, and he buried it with his left foot.

As was the case in the opening game against Russia, Saudi Arabia’s lack of physical power was a big disadvantage. Although they tried to play technical football, the Uruguayans were clearly bigger, stronger and faster than Saudi Arabia.

 

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The result also means that Saudi Arabia have been eliminated from the World Cup. They have been eliminated at the group stages in four of the five World Cup finals that they’ve participated in. Their best World Cup result was in 1994, when they were knocked out in the last 16.

Saudi Arabia have failed to win any of their last 12 World Cup matches (D2, L10). They have failed to score in 9 of those games.

Uruguay have no won two consecutive games 1 – 0. Depending on what way you look at it, this is great tournament management or plain unambitious. Given the players they have, you may expect them to blow away inferior opponents such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

 

Read: Russia Continue Strong World Cup Start

 

With a strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani up front, Uruguay might seem like an attacking team. However, their playing style is more akin to that of Atletico Madrid.

In fact, their center back pairing of Diego Godin and Jose Giminez play at the heart of the Atletico defense. Atletico are regarded as the best defensive team in Europe and the Godin and Giminez partnership makes Uruguay a similar opposition.

At times yesterday they looked content to just see the game out at 1 – 0. Of course, there is no need to over exert yourself at this early stage at the tournament. Although they will be tough to score against for any team, they will need to attack more against stronger opponents.

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