The confidence Russia built up during their first two World Cup games will have been swiftly canceled out by Uruguay on Monday.
Despite the World Cup taking place in Russia, most had written off the hosts before a ball had even been kicked, their own fans included. Going into the tournament the Russians found themselves in 70th place in FIFA's world rankings making them the lowest ranked team at the tournament. In fact, the side had been labeled by some as the worst in Russian soccer history.
No pressure heading into the tournament's opening game against Saudi Arabia then, right? Lucky for Russia, its first opponents were the second lowest ranked side at the World Cup. That meant a loss to them would basically prove all of their critics right. Russia didn't lose though, far from it. The host nation smashed five goals past Saudi Arabia and Russian fans started to believe.
Those hopes were compounded a few days later when Russia swept aside Egypt, booking their place in the next round. On Monday, however, they faced their stiffest test yet, Uruguay. With both teams already through it was simply a case of playing for top spot in Group A. It was also a chance to see what Russia is really made of, but it did not go well for the host nation.
It took Barcelona's Luiz Suarez just ten minutes to find the back of the net, and it was evident from that point on that Russia would struggle against the South Americans. A lucky deflection put Uruguay 2-0 up less than fifteen minutes later and things went from bad to worse for Russia when Igor Smolnikov saw red after just 36 minutes. The Russians kept it at 2-0 for most of the game with just ten men but conceded a third in the closing stages as Edison Cavani scored for the first time at this World Cup.
Russia needs to put Monday behind them as soon as possible and focus on what's coming next. Their second round opponents won't be decided until later in the day on Monday but as it stands they will likely be facing Spain. You only have to look at the Spanish teamsheet to know that they are one of the biggest threats at the tournament. Russia will need more of what they showed in the first two games if they want to remain in their own World Cup.