MOSCOW: Uruguay beat World Cup hosts Russia 3-0 at the Samara Arena in Russia on Monday to seal top spot in Group A with nine out of nine points. The host nation finished second with six points.
A Luis Suarez free kick, a Denis Cheryshev own goal and a late Edinson Cavani strike pushed Russia to the second spot in the group. The South Americans kicked off the goal hunt at the 11th minute when Suarez placed the free kick clinically into the lower-right corner.
Diego Laxalt got a fortune deflection to take the score 2-0. The host team was deflated after conceding that second goal and the match was practically settled when they went down to 10 men in the second half following a red card to Igor Smolnikov.
Edinson Cavani's tap-in at the 90th minute completed the dominant scoreline. The hosts need not be unhappy with the defeat as finishing second could help the hosts avoid formidable teams like Germany, Brazil and Belgium. Russia is likely to play Spain or Portugal in the round of 16.
Russia had shown plenty of promise in the first 10 minutes but failed to cling on it. Uruguay on the other hand looked comfortable on the ball throughout and were awarded twice for their brilliant play.
The hosts have had a perfect start to the tournament beating Egypt and Saudi Arabia in their opening two encounters. Uruguay are the only team to have scored three or more goals against a home nation in a group stage game. The South Americans have done this twice, beating South Africa by the same scoreline in 2010.
Uruguay are also the first team to win all the three of their World Cup group games without conceding a single goal since Argentina in 1998. (With inputs from agencies)
Image Credit: Zuma Press