Russian Federation coach Stanislav Cherchesov bemoans set piece frailties vs. Uruguay

Heading in the right direction

But Uruguay - ranked No. 14 in the world - posed a far greater challenge to the hosts.

Uruguay have finished top of Group A at the World Cup after beating 10-man Russian Federation 3-0 in Samara, and will play the runners-up of Group B in the last 16 on Saturday in Sochi.

Saudi Arabia defeated Egypt 2-1 to finish Group A in third place with three points, while Egypt were last after losing all three games. The South Americans have never lost a game in which the Barcelona man has scored and his importance for them was underscored again with Suarez being his usual pesky self and producing a top-drawer free kick from under his sleeve.

Russian Federation tried all they could in the second half to at least pull a goal back, but Martin Caceres and Diego Godin were superb in the defense for Uruguay.

But after 23 minutes, Uruguay won the corner from which they doubled their lead when Diego Laxalt's strike, which looked to be off target, cannoned off Cheryshev and bounced past Akinfeev.

Coach Stanislav Cherchesov had made two more changes but they also backfired spectacularly, with Igor Smolnikov sent off in the 36th minute after a second booking, and Fyodor Kudryashov equally overworked in defense.

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Neymar forced a first save from Stojkovic in the 25th minute but the Serb keeper did well to palm his hopeful effort wide of the goal.

Scores from Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani sandwiched Denis Cheryshev's own goal in a match of previously unbeaten sides already qualified for the knockout stages. He has become a key figure for Uruguay at this World Cup.

Dzyuba headed clear Lucas Torreira's corner to the feet of Laxalt on the edge of the area and his shot took a wicked deflection off Cheryshev, completely wrong-footing Akinfeev, and nestling in the corner.

Moments later, Russia's Igor Smolnikov was booked for fouling Vecino. But on the pitch there was very little of the dynamism we saw from Russia's players in their opening two victories.

Russia's home-country advantage could only carry it so far against its more experienced opponents.

Uruguay, by contrast, are perfectly set-up to keep teams at arm's length and they had few problems during a second period that at times meandered to a procession, Edinson Cavani converting from close range in the final minute to complete a comfortable 3-0 victory.

Russia's vastly superior goal difference (8-1 compared to Uruguay's 2-0) means the hosts only need to draw today to top the group. Akinfeev makes the save to prevent a header Godin finding the net, but Cavani was on hand to bundle home the rebound. They will take on the Group B victor on July 1.

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