Uruguay’s Edinson Cavani (centre) scores his side’s second goal of the game

Edinson Cavani’s stunning brace helped Uruguay beat Portugal 2-1 in Sochi and set up a quarter-final showdown with France. 

Cavani opened the scoring with a thumping header before Pepe equalised in the 55th minute to become the first player to score against Uruguay in the tournament.

However, Cavani hit back with a stunning strike beyond Rui Patricio to send Oscar Tabarez’s side through to the last eight for the first time since 2010.

An early exit for the European champions finished Cristiano Ronaldo’s hopes of lifting the World Cup just hours after La Liga rival Lionel Messi and Argentina were knocked out, beaten 4-3 by Les Bleus in an epic encounter.

Portugal’s star man scored four goals en route to the last 16 but once again struggled to take his form beyond the group stages.

Ronaldo’s only shot on target in the entire game came in the second minute, when his low effort was fired straight at Fernando Muslera.

Moments later, Cavani headed Uruguay in front after a superb cross-field one-two with Luis Suarez.

Cavani launched a diagonal ball to Suarez wide left and as the Barcelona forward held up play, Cavani charged into the area towards the back post to head home inside the opening seven minutes and score a goal that few sides would have been able to prevent.

In Suarez and Cavani, it’s clear to see why Uruguay possess one of the most potent strike partnerships in Russia.

Despite trailing at half-time, Portugal responded well after the restart and got their reward when Raphael Guerreiro crossed after a short corner, Pepe leapt unmarked with a towering header from close range to draw his side level.

It prompted a brief spell of dominance for Fernando Santos’ side.

But Cavani reasserted Uruguay’s authority on the 62nd minute with a clinical finish on the counter, sweeping the ball into the far corner adding to the collection of remarkable goals scored at this World Cup.

Uruguay’s matchwinner however hobbled off towards the closing stages as the Paris St-Germain striker left the field, appearing to clutch his hamstring. Undoubtedly, a serious blow for Oscar Tabarez’s side.

And while Ronaldo’s World Cup dream is over, Uruguay can relish a quarter-final clash with France on Friday afternoon in Nizhny Novgorod (3pm kick-off).

This is the first time Uruguay have won their opening four games at a World Cup tournament since 1930, with the fourth game in that run being their 4-2 victory over Argentina in the final.

Man of the Match – Edinson Cavani

Uruguay XI – Muslera, Cáceres, Godin, Gimenez, Laxalt, Nandez, Torreira, Bentancur, Vecino, Suarez, Cavani

Subs – Rodríguez (63), Stuani (74), Sánchez (81)

Portugal XI – Rui Patrício, Pepe, Ricardo Pereira, José Fonte, Guerreiro, Bernardo Silva, William Carvalho, Adrien Silva, João Mário, Gonçalo Guedes, Cristiano Ronaldo

Subs – Ricardo Quaresma (65), André Silva (74), Manuel Fernandes (85)

Referee – César Arturo Ramos Palazuelos