LUIS SUAREZ HIT his second goal in as many World Cup games as Uruguay secured top spot in Group A with a comfortable 3-0 victory over World Cup hosts Russia, who had Igor Smolnikov sent off.
Russia’s impressive progression to the last 16 has provided one of the tournament’s major surprises so far, but Stanislav Cherchesov’s side were brought back down to earth in a sweltering Samara.
In a fast start, Uruguay were ahead inside 10 minutes as Suarez, who scored the winner against Saudi Arabia on matchday two, found the net with a pinpoint free-kick.
Denis Cheryshev’s own goal compounded Russia’s misery 13 minutes later, with Smolnikov’s dismissal – a second yellow card issued for a foul on Edinson Cavani prior to half time – all but ending hopes of a comeback.
Russia showed greater solidity after the interval, with Artem Dzyuba wasting a chance for a consolation, but the damage was already done by the time Cavani got his first goal of the tournament in the 90th minute.
Portugal and Spain — who face Iran and already eliminated Morocco respectively later on Monday — are likely to await these sides in the knockout stages, with Uruguay’s victory meaning they will face the side who finish second in Group B.
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