A second half brace from a stunning Bruno Fernandes fired Portugal into the last 16 of the World Cup on Monday to join France and Brazil, after a 2-0 win that outclassed an uninspiring Uruguay given little chance to get into the match.
For a Portugal whose World Cup narrative has so far been crafted by the controversy and brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo, the night belonged to Fernandes, who shone throughout and always looked threatening.
His first goal set the tone of how the match would play out, with a 55th minute cross intended for Ronaldo that sailed fortuitously into the net, before a perfectly executed spot kick in stoppage time that guaranteed his side’s passage to the knockout stages with a match remaining.
Ronaldo had celebrated the first goal ecstatically as his own and smiled awkwardly as it was announced as belonging to Fernandes, who twice came close to completing a hat-trick in the dying moments.
The win was the third time at a World Cup that Portugal have won two successive group stage matches, and the previous two times led to streaks into the semi-finals.
Image via Bruno Fernandes Twitter