ROSTOV-ON-DON: Luis Suarez put both Uruguay and host Russia into the second round of the World Cup while eliminating Saudi Arabia and Egypt at the same time.
Suarez scored the winning goal in his 100th international appearance for Uruguay, knocking in a corner kick from Carlos Sanchez in the 23rd minute to give the two-time champions a 1-0 victory over the Saudis on Wednesday.
It was the Barcelona striker’s 52nd goal for his country in that century of games.
Besides scoring, Suarez led his team with a hard-working performance. He fell back to defend and raced forward on the counterattack.
Uruguay and Russia both have six points from their opening two matches, putting them into the round of 16.
They will face each other on Monday in Samara with first place in Group A on the line.
For Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi, he was left to rue a lack of fire-power up front against the Uruguyans.
Speaking to the media immediately after the game, Pizzi said: "We kept the ball well, we had the majority of the posession, but we just did not have the weapons needed up front to equalize.
"We played at a much better level than in the Russia game, and that is more our style of play, but we just did not have the right tools to break Uruguay down."
Meanwhile, Egypt coach Hector Cuper wondered if things might have been different for Egypt had Mohamed Salah been fit for the first game.
"If he was not injured, it is very difficult to know what would have happened but we know the quality he has," said Cuper, who admitted at the very least Salah's match sharpness had been blunted.
"He wasn't in all the preparation with us and that cost him a little bit of his physical ability. He would have worked almost three weeks with us before the first game, with the same intensity as the rest of the team."