Suarez-inspired Uruguay top Group A

Luis Suarez got off the mark against Saudi Arabia last time out

Uruguay finished top of Group A with three wins from three as they beat 10-man Russian Federation 3-0 at the Samara Arena on Monday, with the host nation also qualifying for the round of 16.

The hosts, entering the match with two wins out of two, may have harboured hopes of a dramatic comeback but Smolnikov put paid to that when he received his second yellow card ten minutes from half time.

The lead was doubled in the 23rd minute when Diego Laxalt's speculative shot went in off Cherysev's foot, leaving Igor Akinfeev no chance to save.

Uruguay's demanding coach Oscar Tabarez added: "We could have won by more goals, we lack experience so we didn't score on some counter-attacks when we should have", he said.

Russian Federation coach Stanislav Cherchesov was disappointed after his team conceded all three goals in their 3-0 World Cup Group A loss to Uruguay from set-pieces. Those players who are better prepared will play.

"It's important that goal scorers score goals", Tabarez said.

There was plenty of noise from the stands - so Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera will have had many quieter games in terms of volume - but he had little work to do as he became his country's all-time leading appearance maker at the World Cup. We wanted to play in the same way we did before.

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From just outside the 18-yard box, the Barcelona striker curled a powerful strike past the goalkeeper and into the bottom-right corner.

Cherchesov also says that Russian football players rode roughshod over the beginning of such hard matches as the one against Uruguay was.

"Today we see the team with enormous potential and outstanding stamina", the 71-year-old Uruguayan head coach stated.

Uruguay, however, is a much more skilled team than Russia's first two opponents. "As for our team, we will do our best to fulfill our own potential and to overcome our own problems as we must not fail repeating the mistakes of the past".

Salman Alfaraj got the Saudis level with a penalty kick in first-half stoppage time after Ali Gabr brought down Fahad Almuwallad in the area.

The only advantage of the Russian national team's loss to Uruguay in the final round of the group stage of the World Cup is the place of the next match in the 1/8 finals - at the Moscow stadium Luzhniki.

Twice World Cup winners Uruguay offered them the chance to show they truly belonged among the elite, but it was an opportunity wasted, merely serving to give ammunition to the doubters.

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