Portugal 1-2 Uruguay |Cavani brace sends Ronaldo and Portugal packing

Mixed bag Ronaldo scored four goals in the first two matches including a hat-trick against Spain but then missed a crucial penalty against Iran that condemned his side to second place

Mixed bag Ronaldo scored four goals in the first two matches including a hat-trick against Spain but then missed a crucial penalty against Iran that condemned his side to second place

KAZAN, Russia (AP) - With Lionel Messi out of the tournament, the World Cup has a new star.

SOCHI, RUSSIA-Luis Suarez believes any rivalry he may have with Cristiano Ronaldo is limited just to their club teams playing the past four years against each other in La Liga.

"But rest assured that this national team will continue to be one of the best in the world". In all probability, it is Messi (31) and Ronaldo's (33) last appearance at the World Cup stage.

Messi's return in Russian Federation was more meager - at times he looked disillusioned on the field as Argentine struggled to find anything like their usual style and he drifted deep into midfield in the forlorn hope of influencing games.

"We played better than Uruguay, but it's those who score more goals who win".

Uruguay beat Portugal 2-1 in Sochi despite possession of little more than 30 per cent.

Uruguay made a slow start to this World Cup by scraping past Egypt 1-0 but have got stronger with every game - and in Suarez and Cavani, they possess one of the most potent strike partnerships in Russian Federation.

Portugal won EURO 2016 and came to Russian Federation with high expectations after the surprise title in France two years ago, its first in a major tournament.

Portugal coach Fernando Santos threw up his hands in disgust, realising that coming from behind a second time against this Uruguay defence was going to be a tall order.

"Now is not the time to talk about the future, either of the coach or the players", the Portugal skipper said after the game.

Portugal equalized the game on a Pepe header in the 55th minute, but Uruguay regained the lead seven minutes later on a break from a goal kick.

"The truth is, it was really exciting", Cavani said.

Pepe headed home from the corner to bring the Selecao back into the match but it was Uruguay who had the last laugh.

But by defeating the reigning European champions, the two-time World Cup winners will face France in Nizhny Novgorod on Friday with hopes of making it to the semifinals and keeping alive the prospect of an all-South American clash in the final.

And although Uruguay finally conceded a goal, it was the first this year in the team's seventh match. "I learned that in Italy when I was working there", said Tabarez, who coached at Cagliari and briefly AC Milan in the 1990s. "The team didn't win because Uruguay scored twice".

Ronaldo posted a score of 6.66 out of 10 for his performance against Uruguay, according to data website Whoscored.com- and this is the lowest score he received in the four matches he played at the 2018 World Cup.

"Now we have a very strong opponent in France", Tabarez said.

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