Uruguay booked their place in the knockout stage with a 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia in Rostov, Russia, on Wednesday.
The result had a number of repercussions for all teams in Group A as hosts Russia will join the South Americans in the round of 16 while Egypt are eliminated along with the Saudis with a game still to play.
Uruguay snuck by the Egyptians via a late set-piece goal in their opening match of the tournament and went back to the well for their first against the Asian side after 23 minutes.
Luis Suarez, who was guilty of a number of blown chances against the Pharaohs, was happy to sweep home at the goal mouth after a Carlos Sanchez cross from a corner sailed over Saudi goalkeeper Mohammed Al-Owais’ attempted punch and found the Barcelona striker unmarked at the far post.
And despite the ugly nature of another 1-0 win, manager Oscar Tabarez was unapologetic after his team confirmed they’d be around past the group stages in the face of solid opposition in the first two matches.
“The only thing that surprised me was the low level of my team in the first half, we were very far from our usual level, and you could say that’s because Saudi Arabia made it hard for us,” Tabarez told reporters.
“Some people might think that winning these matches is easy. People were talking about Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia without really knowing.
“I believe that in this World Cup we’ve seen so many surprises so far that we can’t take things for granted. Remember in the past when we saw scoreboards of 10-1 in a World Cup? You don’t see that very much anymore.”
Taisir Al-Jassim limped out of the match in the 44th minute with what appeared to be a hamstring injury after over-stretching for a ball at the top of the box.
Both teams struggled to create chances in the second half, with half-chances the best either could produce.
Uruguay would have been fortunate to score in the 80th minute when a long-range shot by Lucas Torreira found Edinson Cavani’s head before going feet wide of the post.
Cavani missed a golden chance four minutes from time when a fallen defender allowed him a one-on-one chance with Al-Owais at the top of the box but the Saudi keeper did well to get a foot on the PSG man’s effort and keep it out.
The win gives Uruguay six points from two matches, trailing leaders Russia — also with six points — only on goal difference.
The Saudis and Egyptians have yet to collect a point.
Tabarez’s side will finish group play against the Russians on Monday in Samara.
Saudi Arabia will play Egypt that same day in Volgograd.