Portugal will be talking about Bruno.
Bruno Fernandes, that is. The 28-year-old versatile midfielder scored a brace as Portugal defeated Uruguay 2-0 in its second Group H match in the 2022 World Cup on Monday.
Portugal opened the game having made several changes. The 4-3-3 shape remained the same, but Otávio’s injury pushed Bruno Fernandes to the right wing spot as William Carvalho came in at left center midfield to take Fernandes’ spot. Then in the backline, left back Nuno Mendes and 39-year-old center back Pepe came in for Raphael Guerreiro and Danilo Pereira, both of whom struggled against Ghana.
Uruguay came out a 3-5-2, a similar shape to its 0-0 draw against South Korea. Edinson Cavani replaced Luis Suárez up top while Guillermo Varela came in for Facundo Pellistri in the right midfield/right wing back role.
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The first half didn’t produce many key moments for either side. Portugal couldn’t find the final product in Uruguay’s defensive third, but Uruguay’s five-man midfield also overloaded the Portuguese’s build-up play that forced the fullbacks to move up the flanks higher and hold the width.
Uruguay’s Rodrigo Bentancur provided the best moment of the first half. His sensational run from past the midway line into Portugal’s penalty box nearly resulted in one of the best goals of the Qatar tournament, but Diogo Costa raced off his line and made a vital save in the 32nd minute.
Then in the second half, Fernandes opened the scoring in the 54th minute. His cross from the left flank into the penalty box skimmed over Cristiano Ronaldo’s head and went in. Ronaldo initially believed he had scored the goal, but it was officially ruled Fernandes’ after a few minutes of review.
In the 62nd minute, Uruguay made some attacking-minded substitutions and changed its shape to a 4-4-2 with an emphasis on attacking Guerreiro at left back, who was a first-half sub for Portugal after Nuno Mendes suffered an injury and couldn’t carry on.
Uruguay had some key chances with Luis Suárez and Maximiliano Gomez providing a spark inside the box after replacing Edinson Cavani and Darwin Núñez.
However, Fernandes scored a penalty during stoppage time after VAR called a handball on José María Giménez, which secured Portugal’s spot in the round of 16.
Portugal will need to win or tie against South Korea on Friday to guarantee a first-place finish. A loss and a Ghana win against Uruguay would have it come down to goal differential.