NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia (AP) — Uruguay waited for 12 long years before the national team could celebrate goals from Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani in the same match at a World Cup.
For the first time in coach Oscar Tabarez’s tenure, both forwards scored in the same game and they couldn’t have chosen a better time: The convincing 3-0 defeat of host Russia secured Uruguay’s status as group winner and as one of the most solid teams of the tournament’s opening stage after taking a full nine points.
“It’s important that goal scorers score goals,” Tabarez said. “Let them get into their flow. Not because of selfishness, but because they contribute a lot. I believe it’s very important that both Edi and Luis scored.”
Both players will need to be at their best when Uruguay faces Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo in the round of 16 on Saturday in Sochi.
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Against Russia on Monday, Suarez scored from a free kick with a low shot that sailed past Russia’s wall and into the right corner. Cavani pounced on a loose ball after the goalkeeper parried it from a header by Diego Godin. Cavani poked it home for Uruguay’s third goal.
It was Suarez’s seventh goal in three World Cups, while it was only a third for Cavani.
Cavani, one of the world’s greatest scorers in club football with 323 goals in 12 years with Danubio, Palermo, Napoli and current team Paris Saint Germain, hasn’t had the same success at World Cups. He scored one goal in each tournament in South Africa in 2010, when Uruguay reached the semifinals, and in Brazil in 2014, when the South Americans were eliminated in the round of 16.
But Suarez and Cavani now join an exclusive club of players that have scored in three consecutive World Cups.
“Statistics are there to be broken,” Suarez said.
A previous version of this story has been corrected to show that Cavani’s first name is Edinson, not Edison.
More AP World Cup coverage: https://apnews.com/tag/WorldCup