Luis Suarez
Getty Images

Two early goals saw Uruguay finish top of group A as they inflicted Russia’s first defeat of the World Cup in Samara, winning 3-0 to make it three victories from three and leave the hosts in second place.

Uruguay gave an early warning of their intent at the Samara Arena when Edinson Cavani found Matias Vecino, who fired wide from 25 yards.

With nine minutes gone, Luis Suarez got away down the left and, when the ball was played inside, Rodrigo Bentancur was fouled by by Yury Gazinsky on the edge of the area.

Gazinsky was booked and Suarez stepped up to steer a low free kick into the far corner, goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev unable to get to it as Uruguay secured an early breakthrough.

Russia threatened to hit back swiftly, Artem Dzyuba heading down to Denis Cheryshev and keeper Fernando Muslera parrying his fierce strike from the edge of the area.

But after 23 minutes, Uruguay won the corner from which they doubled their lead when Diego Laxalt’s strike, which looked to be off target, cannoned off Cheryshev and bounced past Akinfeev.

Russia were increasingly ragged and, after Igor Smolnikov had gone into the book for a foul on Vecino, they were almost three down when Bentancur was denied by Akinfeev.

With 36 minutes gone things went from bad to worse as Laxalt was fouled by Smolnikov and the defender was shown a second yellow card.

Russia responded by replacing Cheryshev with Mario Fernandes as Uruguay reached half-time with little threat to their two-goal cushion.

As the second half began, Cavani blasted a free kick into the Russian wall after good play from Suarez, and then Russia won a free kick of their own which Aleksandr Samedov lashed high.

Bentancur tried his luck but saw the effort crash back off a defender, and then was booked for a clumsy foul on Roman Zobnin, while after 64 minutes Cavani wanted a penalty after a challenge from Sergei Ignashevich but saw his appeals ignored.

As the game meandered towards its final 25 minutes Cavani, still to get off the mark in the tournament, cut inside but blasted wide before VAR was deployed when Dzyuba went down under a Diego Godin challenge but no penalty was given.

With a quarter of an hour to go, Russia could have pulled one back when Zobin teed up Dzyuba, whose strike was dismal, and an unselfish Suarez cross failed to find a teammate in the middle as Uruguay again threatened a third.

Rodriguez then had a curling strike parried before Russia swept to the other end only for Smolov sent his low cross too close to the goalkeeper with two teammates waiting in the middle.

But Cavani had the final word, prodding home in the last minute after a Godin header had been parried.

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