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World Cup

Uruguay book quarter final date with France

Edinson Cavani scored a brace against Portugal on Saturday

Two time winners Uruguay underlined their World Cup pedigree by outlasting European champions Portugal in an engrossing match up played in Sochi, Russia.

Edinson Cavani netted a brace for the 1930 and 1950 world champions two hours after his Paris St Germain team mate Kylian Lottin Mbappe had done the same for France in a 4-3 victory over Argentina.

Oscar Tabarez’s well chiselled South Americans were quicker out of the blocks and caught Portugal pants down when Cavani powered home a textbook header following an exchange of raking passes with strike partner Luis Suarez.
The teams went into the breather with Uruguay 1-0 to the good.

Portugal, who reached World Cup semi-finals back in 1966 on the back on Eusebio’s nine goals, failed to get the best out of current talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Real Madrid star was excellently marshalled by Atletico Madrid pair Diego Godin and Jimenez.

But Fernando Santos’ side did briefly haul themselves level through veteran defender Pepe, whose powerful header, his sixth goal in 99 international appearances flew past Uruguay keeper Fernando Musilera. It was the first goal he has conceded all year.

Uruguay responded within minutes when Cavani curled home after Portugal were pressed into surrendering possession deep in their own half.

Despite Portugal’s frantic efforts to get back into the game, it ended 2-1 in Uruguay’s favour.

The only blemish for Tabarez’s side was the injury to Cavani which saw him substituted by Christian Stuani.

For Portugal, this was surely the last World Cup hurrah for Ronaldo who, like his great rival Lionel Messi, still hasn’t scored a goal in the knock out rounds of the tournament.

Earlier Mbappe’s pair guided France to a 4-3 victory over Argentina in a pulsating game played in Kazan.

In what is the match of the tournament thus far, Didier Deschamps’ 1998 champions fought back from 2-1 down to book a quarter final slot with Uruguay.

Paris Saint Germain striker Mbappe illuminated the match with his electric turn of pace and sharp dribbling.

Antoine Griezman had already rattled the woodwork when he converted Les Bleus’ opening goal following a lung bursting run into Argentina’s penalty box by the irrepressible Mbappe.

Jorge Sampaoli’s Pumas dominated possession without gaining visible fraction until a minute to the breather when Angel di Maria’s swerving long range drive French keeper Hugo Lloris no chance. Half time score was 1-1.

The Pumas, world champions in 1978 and 1986, took the lead just two minutes into the second half when Mercado deflected Lionel Messi’s speculative shot into back of the net.

France reacted to falling behind by turning on the after burners.

But three substitutions that brought on Corentin Colliso, Nabil Fekir and Florian Thauvin for Mbappe, Griezman and Blaise Matuildi handed back the initiative to Argentina who scored a consolation goal through Sergio Aguero.

First, Stuttgart right back Benjamin Pavard, who is keeping experienced Monaco rival Djibril Sidibe out of the starting line up, netted a powerful, spinning shot from outside the box.

Not long after Mbappe put France 3-2 ahead after wriggling past a couple of defenders to power an unstoppable left foot drive under Pumas keeper Francis Armani.

Man of the match Mbappe then became the first teenager to score two goals in a World Cup match since Edson Arantes dos Nascimento ‘Pele’ in 1958. France were cruising.

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