Suarez-inspired Uruguay top Group A

Uruguay and Russia supporters pose with a cardboard cutout of Urugay's forward Edinson Cavani outside the Samara Arena in Samara

Uruguay and Russia supporters soak up the atmosphere ahead of Sunday's Group A match Credit AFP

After an impressive win over Russia, Paul Mariner is impressed with Uruguay's attacking mentality and thinks they can challenge the top teams in the world.

Uruguay's Luis Suarez celebrates the second goal of his team during the group A match between Uruguay and Russia at the 2018 soccer World Cup at the Samara Arena in Samara, Russia, Monday, June 25, 2018.

While Russia had confounded those who predicted a group stage exit with resounding victories over Saudi Arabia and Egypt, there was still a question mark over how they would perform when they faced stronger opposition. The South Americans have never lost a game in which the Barcelona man has scored and his importance for them was underscored again with Suarez being his usual pesky self and producing a top-drawer free kick from under his sleeve.

Midfielder Denis Cheryshev has been one of the World Cup's big discoveries and a natural leader on a team without stars.

The lead was quickly doubled in the 23rd minute, when Diego Laxalt unleashed a shot from distance that took a wicked deflection and went beyond goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev.

Akinfeev kept his side's fading hopes alive by denying Betancur a goal on his 21st birthday five minutes later, although they were dealt a further blow nine minutes before the break when Smolnikov, who had earlier been booked for a foul on Cavani, felled Laxalt and received a second yellow card.

More news: Argentina's World Cup mutiny has reportedly turned into a players' coup

That silenced a vociferous crowd who were not expecting their final group game to be effectively ended on the half hour when Igor Smolnikov was sent off for a second booking.

Three thoughts on Uruguay's 3-0 win vs. Russian Federation in Group A at the World Cup.

With an eye on the next game, Cheryshev - easily Russia's best player on the pitch - was replaced by defender Mario Fernandes, who did offer some stability to the defence.

Samara is looking forward to hosting a top-of-the-table contest in Group A when Uruguay take on hosts Russian Federation with the title of "group winner" at stake. Akinfeev makes the save to prevent a header Godin finding the net, but Cavani was on hand to bundle home the rebound.

Russia, meanwhile, will face Group B winners Spain after last night's 2-2 draw with Morocco. His corner also led to the Cheryshev own goal which ultimately secured top spot in the group.

Cavani, one of the world's greatest scorers in club football with 323 goals in 12 years with Danubio, Palermo, Napoli and current team Paris Saint Germain, hasn't had the same success at World Cups.

Latest News