Edinson Cavani insists Uruguay are focusing solely on their upcoming meeting with Russia, and not a possible duel with Portugal or Spain in the second round.
Uruguay take on the World Cup hosts in Samara on Monday, needing a win to qualify as winners of Group A.
With qualification assured following Wednesday’s 1-0 victory over Saudi Arabia, it was put to Cavani that it would only be natural for Oscar Tabarez’s men to allow thoughts to turn to a last-16 meeting, with Spain and Portugal in the driving seat to claim the top two spots in Group B.
“None of that, we focus on the match tomorrow first and foremost and that is the path we will take and we’ll think about other aspects afterwards,” the Paris Saint-Germain striker told a news conference.
“The most important thing is to win the match tomorrow, possibly end up first in the group and see what happens in other matches but first we need to focus on ourselves, we’re a tightly-knit group.
“Then we’ll have to face the match that will be set up in the round of 16, with the same seriousness and dedication and focus that we go into every match.”
— Selección Uruguaya (@Uruguay) June 24, 2018
Cavani was asked if he had been surprised by some of the results at the tournament over the opening 11 days.
“Not at all really, the last couple of matches we’ve seen that they were close scores with the exception of Russia but what has characterised this World Cup is the number of matches ending in draws or a single goal difference,” he said.
“It shows great quality there and the gaps aren’t as wide as they used to be. We have matches that are much more difficult and fraught and it becomes more difficult to achieve results.”
Head coach Tabarez, meanwhile, declined to give anything away when pressed on whether he would rest some of his stars with a place in the last 16 already assured.
“I will certainly not give you any hints when it comes to the team itself,” he said. “I will not reveal anything here and I’ve already said tomorrow’s match is important to us.
“Someone said there could be eight possible changes but I’ll not go into that at all. We’ll go forward, we don’t show up just like that.
“We want to play seven matches in a month and we’re prepared for that and after every match we know that regeneration and rest is necessary but fatigue is not a topic in our team right now and going forward.”
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