Uruguay's quartet of young midfielders in Matias Vecino, Rodrigo Bentancur, Lucas Torreira and Nahitan Nandez did well to cut down the spaces to reduce the supplies to Ronaldo as Portugal trailed by a goal at the half-time.
On paper, Uruguay have the stronger team.
But it is the attack which makes Uruguay such a potent force and took the country of 3.3 million to the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup, the second round in 2014 and helped make them South American champions in 2011.
Euro 2016 champions Portugal have struggled in this tournament but they are no pushovers. Tabarez's men play with gusto and passion and they want to win for the illness-stricken coach, who is suffering from Guillain-Barre syndrome.
"I believe that Ronaldo is one of the best strikers in the world", Tabarez said.
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There was no goal from Ronaldo this time. He won it, found a team-mate, and then allowed himself a five-second break, resting his hands on his knees as Uruguay played around him. "We have our weapons and we're going to try to win". He will be relieved that Jose Gimenez is back in contention after missing the game against Russian Federation.
Portugal: Patricio 6, Pepe 7, Guerreiro 7, Fonte 6, Pereira 5, Mario 6, A Silva 5, Carvalho 6, B Silva 7, Ronaldo 7, Guedes 5.
But Mbappe is unlikely to find the Uruguayan defence so accommodating.
But his fitness will now be a major worry for Uruguay, who showed in this game that they have the credentials to go all the way in Russian Federation - if El Matador is healthy.
Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez provided the bulk of the defensive work, being situated at the heart of the backline, but Diego Laxalt was particularly impressive in an unfamiliar left back position, winning the ball and stopping crosses coming in, before using his pace and tenacity to get on the front foot.
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After playing a flat 4-4-2 in the first two games, Uruguay were much better playing a 4-3-1-2 formation against Russian Federation.
More World Cup on Yahoo Sports:• Bushnell: Power ranking the Round of 16 • MVPs and LVPs of the group stage • Dates, kickoff times for the Round of 16 • What could replace yellow cards as FIFA's last-ditch tiebreaker?
Note: This article was updated after the starting lineups were announced.
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