By Izuchukwu Okosi

Uruguay defeated European champions Portugal 2-1 in Sochi on Saturday evening to reach the quarterfinals of the 2018 World Cup and set up a clash with France next Friday.

The French earlier in the day defeated Argentina 4-3.

Portugal who have never come from behind to win a World Cup match since 1966 threatened early in the match through Bernardo Silva and Cristiano Ronaldo.

However it was Uruguay who went ahead with Edison Cavani putting the South Americans ahead with a header profiting from a tantalising Luis Suarez cross in the seventh minute.

Uruguay’s left back position became susceptible to attacking moves led by Portugal’s Bernardo Silva.

Pepe equalised for Portugal in the 55th minute from a cross taken after a short corner. The European champions created the first real panic in the Uruguayan half which produced the set piece.

Pepe’s goal was the first conceded in 2018 by Oscar Tabarez’s side.

Cavani grabbed his brace in the 62nd minute with a superb piece of technique, placing the ball to the bottom right corner following a loose header from Pepe.

Cavani was taken off in the second half after he suffered a calf injury.

Fernando Muslera almost paid for a clanger but Bernardo Silva’s  ensuing shot was wide and out.

Uruguay showed defensive solidity  to see out the game supported by their midfield especially defensive midfielder Lucas Torreira.

Both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo who have been the winners of the World Footballers of the Year awards in the last decade have thus exited the tournament with their teams on same day.

By Izuchukwu Okosi