The 2018 FIFA World Cup has been one of the most unpredictable and thrilling international football tournaments in a long time. The match started on the backdrop of a 19 year old announcing his presence in the world’s greatest stage of all and knocking out Argentina in the process. The earlier match saw, Lionel Messi’s Argentina crashing out to a vibrant French side. With, arguably Cristiano Ronaldo’s biggest rival getting knocked out of the competition, one would have certainly thought it is perhaps Ronaldo’s time now to cement his place as the greatest player of the generation if he went on to win the competition. However, Uruguay had other plans. Much like the Worldcup, where the unpredictability reigned supreme, La Celeste put up a commanding performance to repel the waves of Portuguese attacks. The World Cup lost two of its biggest stars in one night. Perhaps, two of the finest players of this generation would have to retire without the biggest trophy of them all.
A superb brace from Edinson Cavani sent Uruguay on their way to a 2-1 victory over Portugal in the round of 16 at the World Cup, booking a spot in the last eight where they will face France. Here are the major talking points from the match :
1) Ruthless Edinson Cavani And The Tireless Luis Suarez:
As more often said than not that strikers hunt in pairs. Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez both formidable players in their own rights stole the show from Cristiano Ronaldo. Luis Suarez dropping deep to collect the ball from midfield and linking up with the more dynamic Cavani was a treat to watch. La Celeste tore through the Portuguese defence in the 7th minute of the match, as Edinson Cavani played a long switch to Luis Suarez, before continuing his run to the back post and thundering in a header from Suarez’s return cross. Cavani scored a beautiful second just past the hour mark, taking up a good position in the left channel before bending an exquisite first time strike into the right side of the net.
2) The Rise And Rise Of Diego Godin:
We all thought that the last breed of South American defenders ended with the likes of Lucio and Zanetti but then came Diego Godin. The Uruguayan is an absolute beast in defence. A powerful defender with a calm head. He put in a performance that would have made the Nestas and Maldinis proud. Calm and composed on the ball and brilliant in organizing the defence when off it, he had the game of a leader. Will he be the man to stop the French attack? Only time will tell, but if there is one man who could stop the French machine, he might be the best bet.
3) An Oscar Tabarez Masterclass:
It was a tactical masterclass by the Uruguayan gaffer. The old man leading Uruguay to their fourth worldcup tactically outplayed the Portuguese Fernando Santos. He clearly had one objective as he set up his team ‘Prevent the ball from reaching to Ronaldo’ and his team perfectly executed it. The tireless midfield and defence, covering the passing lanes, sitting deep and using their dynamic duo of Cavani and Suarez at every opportunity. His tactics reaped benefits as Uruguay outplayed the Portuguese to book their place in the Quarter finals against France.
4) Uruguay Looking To Be Serious Contenders:
Contrary to what people may say, Uruguay is not only a two man show. They are a wonderful team with a superb manager and can be serious contenders for this World Cup. The spirit with which they play, always giving their 100% both on and off the ball. Sliding into win the ball, putting their bodies on the lines and playing for each other might just provide the firepower to go all the way through.
5) The Era Of Ronaldo And Messi Is Over ?
The era of Ronaldo and Messi seems to have finally come to their end. Two of the finest players in our generation would perhaps have to retire without having their hands on the greatest trophy of them all. Perhaps, the likes of Neymar, Mbappe have got their moment to move out of their shadows and shine now.