Portugal 2-0 Uruguay: controversial VAR decision sends Ronaldo to Round of 16.

The second-ever meeting between Portugal and Uruguay at a World Cup ended with the former claiming a sweet victory for the latter nation. Portugal vs Uruguay ended 2-0 with a controversial penalty sealing the deal.

A double from Bruno Fernandes saw Portugal claim the win over Uruguay. While this victory sends Portugal through to the Round of 16, it also marks the first time that Uruguay has failed to score in three consecutive World Cup games.

Pitch invader at Qatar World Cup during Portugal vs uruguay.
Image credit: Getty Images

How Portugal vs Uruguay teams squared up

Fernando Santos made three changes to his side that claimed victory over Ghana last week. Pepe, Nuno Mendes and William Carvalho replace Raphael Guerreiro, Otavio and Danilo Pereira. The latter two players are out with injury, while Guerreiro drops down to the bench.

Opponents Uruguay also made three changes to their team that drew against South Korea in the group stages. Sebastian Coates, Guillermo Varela and Edinson Cavani join the starting XI. They replace Martin Caceres, Facundo Pellistri and Luis Suarez.

The First Half – endless chances amounting to 0-0

Five minutes in, Uruguay’s Rodrigo Bentancur was the first to be shown a yellow card. This is the earliest booking in this year’s tournament. 

Following the referee’s decision, Portugal was granted a free-kick. However, despite Ronaldo getting his head on it, Fernandes couldn’t find the goal. 

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This ability to play great balls but being unable to bury them in the back of the net seemed to be a recurring pattern for Portugal throughout the first half. Silva, Ronaldo and Felix are all ballers who saw their final touch fizzle like Fernandes’.

Uruguay didn’t have their first real chance until the 32nd. Bentancur broke through the Portugal midfield and, with fancy footwork, moved past two players on the edge of the box. The chance ended poorly, however, with Bentancur striking squarely at Diogo Costa. 

Ruben Neves was given the first Portugal yellow card of the game after dragging Varela down in the 38th. Six minutes later, Olivera was the second Uruguay booking of the match. 

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The first substitution of the game came late in the first half. This was after Mendes awkwardly fell in the 42nd. He was replaced by Guerreiro. 

However, after a fruitless 45+1 minutes of playtime, both teams headed down the tunnel at halftime 0-0. 

The Second-Half – Portugal run away with it

No changes at the break saw Portugal vs Uruguay continuing their stalemate up until the 54th minute. However, following a pitch invasion, Portugal’s Fernandes opened the scoring by curling in a cross. The ball evaded Sergio Rochet’s grasp, allowing the scoreline to sit at 1-0.

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The pitch invader wasn’t given airtime on the ITV broadcast, however from pictures the man can be seen waving a rainbow flag and wearing a T-shirt with the words, ‘Save Ukraine’ and ‘Respect For Iranian Women’.

The first Portugal goal was first credited to a signature Ronaldo header but was eventually given to Fernandes after a VAR check.

It’s worth mentioning that if Ronaldo did get a touch on it – he would have been the oldest male footballer to score in consecutive World Cup appearances. There’s always the RO16, though!

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Following the Portugal strike, Uruguay made a double substitution. Diego Godin and Matias Vecino were replaced by Giorgian de Arrascaeta and Fucundo Pellistri.

Ten minutes later, however, Darwin Nunez was benched for Maxi Gomez while Edinson Cavani came off for legend Luis Suarez. 

Pellistri attempted to make his mark on the game in the 75th. He squared up a perfect ball for Gomez. However, the strike curled past Costa and unfortunately hit the near post.

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In retaliation to Uruguay finally finding their feet in the game, Portugal made a triple substitution. Joao Felix, Ronaldo and Carvalho came off to make room for Matheus Nunes, Goncalo Ramos and Joao Palhinha. 

VAR ruled an accident an apparent handball

From the 84th, Portugal vs Uruguay was seemingly won. Fernandes went for a second before rolling it too wide. Then in the 88th, a pass between Fernandes and Silva saw an Uruguay handball in the box. 

Despite the referee’s previous dismissals, Portugal was eventually awarded a controversial penalty via VAR. Fernandes slotted it home in the third minute of extra time. 

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Thanks to his efforts this evening, Fernandes becomes the first Portugal men’s player with two goals and two assists in a World Cup game since 1966. 

Portugal through to the RO16 but Uruguay is still fighting 

With this win, Portgual heads into the RO16 with a game to spare. Uruguay, however, still has a match against Ghana to go before they can seal their place in the next round. 

The final round of the Group H matches takes place on Friday 2 December. South Korea will take on Portugal while Ghana will take on Uruguay at the same time. 

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Featured image credit:Getty