Set up as arguably ‘the game of the group stage’, Uruguay took on Portugal
last night (28th November 2022) in a game that could play a major factor in the
final standings of Group H. Unfortunately for Uruguay, Portugal came out with a
resounding 2-0 victory putting them through to the knockouts and leaving
Uruguay in dire need of a victory in their final group game v Ghana.
A Bruno Fernandes double, even if Cristiano Ronaldo believes that one of
those goals was his, guaranteed that A Seleção would join Brazil and France
into the next round and keep up their 100% win rate in the tournament.
Tottenham Hotspur midfielder, Rodrigo Bentancur, had the best chance of the
first half despite Portugal clearly having control of the game. An outstanding
run and an even better save by Diego Costa denied what would almost certainly
be goal of the tournament and maybe even one of the best World Cup goals ever.
The first goal came ten minutes into the second half from what originally
looked like a beautiful Ronaldo header – following a good cross from Fernandes.
Ronaldo looked to claim the goal as his own but upon later inspection he did
not appear to touch the ball at all.
Speaking after the game Fernandes claimed, “The feeling I had was that
Cristiano touched the ball.”
“I celebrated as if it had been Cristiano’s goal. It seemed to me that
he had touched the ball. My aim was to cross the ball for him.”
The Manchester United man will certainly not complain though with that being
his first goal of the competition – and his third goal involvement as a whole.
That goal came just moments after the game was forced to halt due to a
protester invading the pitch. The man ran onto the pitch waving a rainbow flag,
clearly a statement against host country Qatar’s discriminatory laws. He also
wore a Superman shirt reading “Save Ukraine” on the front and
“Respect for Iranian Women” on the back. It was not long until the
protestor was wrestled to the ground and escorted off the pitch. His statement
certainly being made though on what is the biggest stage in football.
Despite apparent Portuguese dominance at times Uruguay did not go without
their chances. Maxi Gomez hit the post following a good Uruguay move up the
pitch and on the edge of the Portugal box. Costa had no chance of saving it but
thankfully for him his post came to his aid.
Luis Suarez, who did not start the game, came off the bench and could have
very easily equalised as well. Getting on the end of a freekick from Giorgian
de Arrascaeta at the near post. Very unfortunate not to get on the scoresheet.
Portugal doubled their lead late on with Fernandes getting his second of the
game from the penalty spot after a VAR check revealed that Jose Maria Gimenez’s
hand had struck the ball. Ronaldo had already been subbed off the pitch, so
Fernandes stepped up and slotted the ball away in style.
This game is yet another disappointing result for the Uruguayan squad who
now only have one point and sit bottom of Group H with a single game left. This
could end up being a shocking result for Uruguay who may end up going out of
the World Cup if their next game goes wrong or results do not go in their
Uruguay have also struggled to score in this competition failing to get on
the scoresheet in their opening two games. This their third successive World
Cup game without a goal. This for only the second time in their history. The
last time they failed to score in three games was in the 1986 and 1990 World Cups,
They have some very experienced players up front such as Luis Suarez and
Edison Cavani. They also have some good up and coming attacking players with
Darwin Nunez coming through the ranks in the Uruguay squad. So, the goals need
to start flying in for them if they are going to get anywhere moving forward.
Their forwards very much need to improve.
Uruguay also looked incredibly vulnerable at the back. Only Brazil and
Ecuador faced fewer shots on target in this World Cup. In the game, Portugal
only managed three shots on target and conceded from two of them. Their
problems on the pitch clearly do not just lie in the attacking aspects of the
We go into the final game of the group stages with Uruguay facing Ghana in
what will be an exceptionally good fixture. Ghana who only need a draw against
Uruguay to go through will certainly be full of confidence and it is a major
chance for revenge for the African with the last time these two faced in a
World Cup ending in controversial fashion.
Uruguay knocked Ghana out of the 2010 World Cup with Suarez making a clear
handball to deny Ghana a chance to score. From the penalty spot the chance to
go through to the semi-final was missed with the penalty smacking against the
crossbar. A dramatic way to end a quarter final and an even more dramatic set
up for this upcoming game.
When asked about the game Uruguay manager Diego Alonso said:
“For us, it’s a different history. They are looking for classification,
us too. It has nothing to do with what happened years ago.”
Suarez could potentially start again so could we see an even more dramatic
turn of events to put Uruguay through to the knockout rounds.
Uruguay are set to play Ghana on Friday. The other game in Group H seeing
Portugal take on South Korea on the same day.