Portugal bowed out of the World Cup with a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Uruguay. The European champions were outclassed in all departments by Oscar Tabarez's men as Cristiano Ronaldo could not inspire his side to another famous victory.
Edinson Cavani gave Uruguay the lead early in the first half. Pepe equalized for Portugal in the second half but a stinging counter-attack gave the lead back to Uruguay, again courtesy of Edinson Cavani. Ronaldo and co tried hard but it ultimately proved to be impossible to breach Uruguay's famed defence twice.
Uruguay will now face France in the quarterfinals whereas Portugal will reflect on their mistakes and the missed penalty against Iran. So without further ado, let's analyze the three reasons why Portugal could not usurp the Uruguayan challenge on the night:
#3 A bad start
Starting in a midfield diamond, Uruguay proved they were up for the task from the word go. They pressed as a unit, starting from Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani up front. Their strategy was clear, let Portugal have the ball and try to hit them on the counter which was vindicated by the fact that Portugal had 64% possession in the first half.
This strategy bore fruit as early as in the seventh minute. In one such Uruguayan attack, Cavani played a diagonal ball to Suarez who then delivered a pinpoint cross to his strike partner. Cavani ran his heart out to meet the cross and complete one of the most elegant one-two in the history of the World Cup.
The goal brought extra pressure on Portugal who were already finding it tough to break Uruguay's defence. It was just the start that Portugal had dreaded. Uruguay earned their advantage and could have doubled their lead in the first half but Rui Patricio made an expert save of a Luis Suarez freekick.
Cavani's early goal made all the psychological difference in the game as Portugal were left to climb a mountain, i.e score two goals against this mean Uruguayan defence.