Uruguay took three valuable points in a last-minute 1-0 win over a tough opponent in their World Cup opener against Egypt.
Oscar Washington Tabarez's team dominated from start to finish, but lacked clarity and had trouble producing clear chances against a neat opponent. And with an outstanding performance, goalkeeper Ahmed El Shenawy managed to thwart most of the few clear chances they did create. Jose Maria Gimenez finally headed home a glorious winner and gave Uruguay a huge relief on the 89th minute.
Despite Egypt manager Hector Cuper's tough approach, Uruguay never gave up the fight. They pushed forward with more courage than soccer during the whole match until it finally paid off. The performances of their two center-backs, Gimenez and Diego Godin, who already know each other by heart from their time together at Atletico Madrid, was the best the team had to offer.
Their lack of effectiveness in the opposing area, and Luis Suarez was one of the primary culprits. The Barcelona striker, a penalty-box specialist, seemed out of sorts and wasted three clear chances. That's why Uruguay suffered until the end.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Maestro Tabarez's game plan was good. He assembled a midfield with young players in order to have freshness. And when he noticed that there was a need for experience, he moved the bench and introduced Carlos Sanchez and Cristian Rodriguez. And he finally got his prize.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Fernando Muslera, 6 -- Egypt wasn't really dangerous in Uruguay's box, and the Galatasaray goalkeeper didn't have to work hard. When he did have to intervene though, he did so confidently.
DF Guillermo Varela, 5 -- The right-back had both good and bad interventions. He tried to cooperate in attack, but he wasn't an efficient alternative.
DF Diego Godin, 7 -- One of the Celeste's best players. As always, he was a reliable figure at the back. A true commander-in-chief. And in the second half, he took control and drove his team forward.
DF Jose Maria Gimenez, 8 -- In the last minute of the match, he gave Uruguay the win with a great header after an assist from Sanchez. Before that, he played brilliantly together with Godin.
DF Martin Caceres, 5 -- He didn´t have much trouble in his position, but he wasn't able to do much from the wing after he tried to ignite the attack.
MF Nahitan Nandez, 5 -- He went unseen on the right wing. Beyond his energy and his will to deliver, he couldn't manage to get into the dynamic of the game.
MF Rodrigo Bentancur, 6 -- The Juventus man played a decent game. He was meticulous while handling the ball, and he was a good link between the midfield and the attacking zone.
MF Matias Vecino, 6 -- The Inter man formed a duo of central midfielders together with Bentancur, and he was able to deliver.
MF Giorgian De Arrascaeta, 4 -- One of the weakest performers of the Celeste squad. He didn't contribute much and he was supposed to be responsible for the clear advance of the team. He fell short.
FW Luis Suarez, 5 -- The Barcelona forward was closely followed by his opponents throughout the game, and he wasn't able to finish the three clear chances he got. He lacked precision in the vital moments. At times, he seemed like a perfect stranger.
FW Edinson Cavani, 6 -- He had a clear chance when the game was about to end, but the goalkeeper frustrated his attempt. He moved very well along the attack and assisted Suarez several times.
MF Carlos Sanchez, 6 -- He was brought on 15 minutes into the second half, in place of Nandez. He ended up being a good addition in the attack. He crossed the ball that ended with Gimenez heading in the winner.
MF Cristian Rodriguez, 6 -- He entered after an hour in place of De Arrascaeta and he boosted the left wing.
MF Lucas Torreira, NR -- Brought on for Vecino two minutes before the match ended.