Uruguay have sealed a second consecutive victory in Group A, ensuring qualification alongside Russia but the performance was far from sterling. This is the first time Uruguay has won both of their two opening fixtures in the World Cup since 1954, but both the wins came after laborious efforts as La Celeste looked quite dodgy. The Falcons are heartbroken for they had nothing to show for in spite of their vivacious performance. In the end, schoolboy errors at the back and lack of a creative outlet in their ranks cost them dearly. In a surprising turn of events, Russia have emerged as the strongest performers of all four nations in Group A after two rounds of matches and Uruguay must pull up their socks if they wish to top the group.
Arnav: We've seen two very similar games today. An underperforming favourite gets an early goal from their talisman, but end up knocking out a plucky underdog that really gave it their all. I'm really disappointed that we've only got one more game to watch from Saudi Arabia and Morocco.
FT! Saudi Arabia bow out of the World Cup
Luis Suarez's first-half goal is the difference between the two sides as Uruguay join Russia into the Round of 16. Sadly, it is the end of the road for Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
We're into stoppage time here in Rostov Arena but no fresh developments since Suarez's first-half goal. Saudi Arabia are mere minutes away from elimination and they need a miracle of sorts to get anything out of this game.
89` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
The Saudis win a corner but the header is straight at Muslera.
Saudi Arabia are still looking for that elusive equalizer but there is no path beyond Uruguay's backline. Cavani almost seals it with an excellent counter but Owais quickly comes off his line to waive the danger away. After the costly mistake in the first half, the Saudi custodian has been terrific in the second half.
85` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Cavani goes all on his own and nearly scores his first of the tournament only for Mohamed Al-Owais to make a good save.
The Falcons' defending on set pieces has been suspect all night and they almost conceded a second goal as three of their own failed to clear Sanchez's swerving free-kick, only for Caceres' shot to be ruled offside due to Godin's involvement. With ten minutes to go, a change in the scoreline doesn't seem to be in the offing.
81` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Final change for Uruguay as Nahitan Nandez comes in for Sanchez.
79` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Torreira shoots but his wayward shot take a heavy deflection off Cavani's head and wrong-foots the keeper. Thankfully, the ball bounces away from goal.
77` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Third and final change for Saudi Arabia as Fahad Al-Muwallad is taken off to be replaced by Mohammed Al-Sahlawi.
75` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Second change for Saudi Arabia as Hatan Bahbri is replaced by Mohamed Kanno.
Saudi Arabia have enjoyed 55% possession but registered only two shots on target as they struggled to channelize past Uruguay's narrow, compact defensive lines. The fact that nobody is attacking the ball through the middle is playing into Uruguay's hands - Godin and Gimenez totally comfortable and stress-free.
Arnav: This isn't the most exciting affair, but both goalkeepers have given a good account of themselves.
67` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Muslera finds Suarez on the right with a long ball. However, there is no one in support for Suarez but he manages to win a free-kick just outside the right of the box. Sanchez whips it in. Caceres heads it over.
On a number of occasions, Saudi Arabia have attacked in large numbers only for the move to break down at the edge of Uruguay's penalty area. The South American side, meanwhile, are attempting to double their lead - Carlos Sanchez has managed to get behind Saudi Arabia's defensive lines couple of times, but the finishing touch has been lacking.
Arnav: I was dismissive of Saudi Arabia after their flop-show in the opener, but this performance has both more competent and more enjoyable. I'd like to see them grab the equaliser they deserve. Still waiting for Uruguay to click into gear.
62` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Sanchez nearly doubles Uruguay's lead! Cavani gets the ball on the left wing but there is no one in the box to cross it to. Al-Burayk doesn't close Cavani down giving him enough time to find Sanchez at the back post. Sanchez stoops to head the ball into the back of the net but it balloons over for a goalkick.
This has been an uncomfortably drab fixture so far, perhaps the most sedate of all the games in this edition of the FIFA World Cup. The spectators are trying to encourage both sides with raucous cheers but in vain. Uruguay has opted for double substitution to infuse some energy into their game. Saudi Arabia are still equally enthusiastic as they were in the opening exchange, but they are prone to losing their shape while going forward.
60` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Diego Laxalt nearly scores after coming on moments ago. Luis Suarez finds Sanchez on the right. He fizzes in a low cross towards Laxalt in the centre who gets a touch but Osama gets the final touch on the ball and Saudi clear the ball away.
58` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Double change for Uruguay as Cristian Rodriguez and Matias Vecino are replaced by Lucas Torreira and Diego Laxalt.
Luis Suarez attempts a stunner from a free-kick thirty yards from Mohammed Al-Owais' goal, and the shot takes a deadly deflection but the Saudi custodian does well to parry it away.
50` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Uruguay win a free-kick 30 yards out. Suarez looks to curl the ball around the ball and gets a helpful touch from the last man on the wall as the ball comes in sharply. Al-Owaisi does well to palm the ball away.
47` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia win the first corner of the half but can't trouble the Uruguayan defence.
The second half resumes!
And the action resumes at the Rostov Arena! Can Saudi Arabia manage to mount a comeback? As things stand, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are heading out of the tournament.
The scoreline is an expected one, with Uruguay being heavy favourites in this fixture. But Saudi Arabia are still very much in this game. Unless La Celeste step up their tempo in the second half, the Falcons will fancy their chances of nicking an equalizer. Pizzi's side, like most smaller teams, are struggling with their final product in the attacking third but Uruguay have been terribly underwhelming at the Rostov Arena tonight.
1 - Luis Suarez 🇺🇾 is the first Uruguayan player to score in 3 different World Cups (2010, 2014 & 2018). Legend. pic.twitter.com/cjRamiIiTt
The referee ends what has been probably the most-boring first half at this year's FIFA World Cup. Suarez scored his 52nd goal for Uruguay on his 100th appearance for the country after some poor goalkeeping from Mohammed Al-Owais. Saudi have performed much better when compared to their previous match against Russia and they had a few half-chances to score themselves but couldn't convert any. All in all, a pretty uneventful half.
Uruguay seem to lack their teeth as none of their attackers are looking particularly menacing. Their central midfielders have dropped off deep into their own half, allowing Saudi Arabia to exploit the acres of space in the centre of the park. Lack of a fruitful final pass has hurt the Saudis. Otherwise, the Asian nation has been the better side in possession with most Uruguay players sporting a bored look.
45` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Varela loses possession in the middle of the pitch and Saudi break on the counter. The ball is played forward to Fahad but Godin just about manages to shield the ball away from him as Muslere collects.
43` Uruguay 1-0 Saudi Arabia
Oooh dear that looks painful. Taiseer does a split trying to control the ball and looks to have done damage to his left thigh. His teammate Fahad and Uruguay's Jimenez signal to the bench to make a substitution. The medics arrive and after a lengthy break, escort him off the pitch. Saudi haven't taken him off yet. Coach Pizzi tries to persuade him to carry on but he pulls up moments after entering the pitch. Hussain Almoqhawi replaces him.
It had been such a promising start for Saudi Arabia, but they fell back to their old ways, giving the impression they did not take any lessons from their annihilation at the hands of Russia.
Since Suarez's goal, the Falcons have had a couple of half-chances - one due to Godin's lapse of concentration at the back and most recently following a swift exchange of passes down the right flank, but they spent too much time on the ball and lost out on the opportunities.
Suarez puts Uruguay ahead, making his centennial appearance a memorable one. It was a simple tap-in for the Barcelona forward, but the manner in which the Falcon defence folded at the sight of an Uruguay set piece is bound to worry Juan Pizzi.
Here's Suarez's goal FYI
If you come for the ball you have to claim it. Saudi Arabia's keeper did the opposite and that's a gift that Luis Suárez will happily accept. #URUpic.twitter.com/e16WiEqYeb
Hatan nearly caught Muslera off-guard there with a fiercely struck left-footed shot but he manages to block it behind for a corner. The Saudi corner is poor. Doesn't even clear the first man.
23` Luis Suarez gives Uruguay the lead!
Suarez couldn't have scored an easier goal than he did now. Uruguay win a corner and the keeper comes out but horribly misjudges the flight of the ball and is left in no man's land leaving Suarez to poke it into the empty net. That goal is Suarez's 52nd international goal.
19` Uruguay 0-0 Saudi Arabia
Uruguay spring on the counter with Suarez, Rodriguez and Sanchez exchanging passes before Rodriguez backheels the ball onto the path of a galloping Cavani on the left wing. He pings in a first-time cross towards Suarez but Osama gets there first and puts it behind for a corner. Uruguay play it short but the Saudis deal with it.
12` Uruguay 0-0 Saudi Arabia
Martin Caceres times his run perfectly on the left and he puts in a pinpoint cross to Cavani who is unmarked in the box. However, the PSG star send his volley off target.
Luis Suarez makes his 100th appearance for his country, starting up front alongside Edinson Cavani in a presumed 4-4-2 formation. Saudi Arabia are lining up in their preferred 4-2-3-1 formation but need a better rearguard action against the South American nation than they showcased in the first game.
After shipping five goals against hosts Russia - the lowest-ranked team in the World Cup, Saudi Arabia could probably do with facing a rival other than South American powerhouse Uruguay and its star forward Luis Suarez.
On Wednesday, the two Group A teams will face off in Rostov-on-Don, with Uruguay hoping to appease some worries after only beating Egypt 1-0 thanks to a late goal.
Bizarrely, two-time World Cup champions Uruguay have never beaten the ‘Green Falcons’; Saudi Arabia won a friendly in 2002 while a 2014 friendly ended in a draw.
In another potential source of reassurance for the perennially underachieving Saudis, the usually ruthless Suarez missed three chances against Egypt on Friday in their opening game.
But Group A favorites Uruguay are still widely expected to clobber Saudi Arabia, the second-lowest World Cup team in the FIFA rankings at No. 67.
Nevertheless, the South Americans are guarding against complacency. Asked by a reporter whether beating the Saudis would essentially guarantee passing the group stage, defender Jose Gimenez pushed back.
“Easy, easy. We need to keep a cool head. We know that any game here is very hard, and we need to think of it that way. I think that if Uruguay do things right we have a lot of chances of passing,” said Gimenez, who scored the 89th-minute header against Egypt.
Saudi Arabia seem unlikely to emulate the surprisingly strong performances of underdogs Mexico and Switzerland, and the players themselves seem to be preparing the ground for another defeat.
“There is no doubt that facing the Uruguayan team is difficult and that it is known for its international stars, but we are determined to improve our image from the previous match and the joy of the Saudi fans,” said Saudi Arabia midfielder Taisir Al-Jassim.
A victory may cement Uruguay’s position as the group’s leaders, lining them most probably for a tough second-round clash against Spain or Portugal.
If history is anything to go by, Saudi Arabia’s Argentine-born coach Juan Antonio Pizzi could become the next coaching casualty if Saudi authorities react with the anger displayed after past defeats.
The Saudis gave Carlos Alberto Parreira the chop after a 4-0 loss to hosts France in the group stages in 1998 - even though four years earlier he had won the World Cup with his native Brazil.