Cavani optimistic over injury after firing Uruguay into quarters

La Liga rivalries renewed as Ronaldo and Suarez take center stage in World Cup knockout tie

Despite topping its group undefeated, coach Oscar Tabarez's team did little to raise expectations in the tournament's open stages.

"I am sure that Portugal will continue to be one of the best teams in the world".

Uruguay and Portugal have faced off on two previous occasions, but never at the World Cup.

Messi's return in Russian Federation was more meager - at times he looked disillusioned on the field as Argentine struggled to find anything like their usual style and he drifted deep into midfield in the forlorn hope of influencing games.

The concern going forward will be whether or not Suarez can do it without his strike partner if the injury that saw Cavani limp off with the aid of Ronaldo proves serious. The result meant Portugal finished second in the group and had to face a less winnable game against Uruguay as compared to Russian Federation.

Uruguay vs. Portugal preview, players to watch, key stats
Uruguay enters as Group A winners following victories over Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation . Oscar Tabarez is the longest-serving global manager. "Some of my players know them better than I do.

Portugal defender Pepe made Uruguay pay for sitting back when he leapt unmarked to head in a cross from Raphael Guerreiro following a short corner to level the match at 1-1 in the 55th minute.

Santos was inevitably asked about Ronaldo on the eve of the knockout clash at Fisht Stadium and the Portugal boss revealed he had won himself a free coffee after betting that he would field questions on the five-time Ballon d'Or victor.

"I am convinced that he has a lot to give in football", said Santos, whose own future is in doubt after elimination here. With that, dreams of a quarter-final between the two greatest players were shattered.

Cavani switched play with a long cross to Luis Suarez and continued his run to head home a pinpoint deep cross from the Barcelona forward and give Uruguay a seventh-minute lead.

Saturday, they faced a team who did the same things more effectively as Portugal went down to only their second defeat in 28 competitive matches under the grizzled Santos.

How England's World Cup progress has helped Norwich City fans
On the hand, Three Lions' star defender John Stones is not a doubt for England's fixture against Colombia on Tuesday, July 3. Momentum shifts in games and I think we kept pressing right to the end.

Cavani hobbled off with 16 minutes left with a suspected hamstring injury but is hopeful he will be fit in time to face France on Friday in Nizhny Novgorod.

The Portugal captain helped his side rescue a point after scoring a hattrick against Spain in a pulsating 3-3 draw before he scored the only goal in a tight contest against Morocco. "A group that has a big ambition to triumph and that is why I am happy about everything".

"In football, there are no moral victories and I would have preferred to play worse and win the match", Portugal coach Fernando Santos said. "Even if he scores three goals in match, you still need to have a team to support him".

"Today we committed a mistake that led to the equaliser but we have a very strong team in terms of mindset", Tabarez added, citing the value of his team's "intensity, focus and tactical intuition".

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