Suarez inspires Uruguay to win Group A over Russian Federation

Heading in the right direction

Heading in the right direction

Luis Suarez led the way as Uruguay made sure of top spot in Group A by ending 10-man Russia's ideal start to their own World Cup in humbling fashion.

Nearly every set-piece was delivered too long, and there were so many key sloppy passes - like Yuri Gazinskiy's to begin the passage of play that led to Suarez scoring from a free-kick - or Mario Fernandes' when for once early in the second half Uruguay looked like they might be opened up.

Luis Suarez opened the scoring in the 10th minute with a low free-kick and Denis Cheryshev deflected a Diego Laxalt shot into his own net (23) before Igor Smolnikov was sent off for a second yellow card nine minutes before half-time.

Stanislav Cherchesov's troops picked themselves up and played with a lot more energy after the hour but somehow they got unstuck in the final third of the pitch.

A resultant corner from one such strike brought the third goal as Cavani was close at hand to nod in after the goalkeeper had done well to keep out a glancing header from Godin.

There is consolation that this was not their full-strength team and that, when they play in the last 16, three key players will be relatively fresh. The South Americans have never lost a game in which the Barcelona man has scored and his importance for them was underscored again with Suarez being his usual pesky self and producing a top-drawer free kick from under his sleeve. However, Oscar Tabarez tweaked the formation for this game and the Russians could find no response as Uruguay coasted to a 3-0 victory.

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Dzyuba headed clear Lucas Torreira's corner to the feet of Laxalt on the edge of the area and his shot took a wicked deflection off Cheryshev, completely wrong-footing Akinfeev, and nestling in the corner.

For the first time in coach Oscar Tabarez's tenure, both forwards scored in the same game and they couldn't have chosen a better time: The convincing 3-0 defeat of host Russian Federation secured Uruguay's status as group victor and as one of the most solid teams of the tournament's opening stage after taking a full nine points. The last act was for Cavani to get his goal, converting a rebound from a Diego Godin header.

Russia, meanwhile, will face Group B winners Spain after last night's 2-2 draw with Morocco.

On a personal level I'm happy to move forwards, with the team we continue to make history. Tomorrow's match will decide on the victor of their Group A, which also enrolls the teams from Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Cherchesov said he was looking forward to the next game at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium, where Russian Federation play the majority of their matches.

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