June 18, 2018 / 12:40 PM / 9 months ago

Uruguay vow sharper performance against Saudis after opening game nerves

Soccer Football - World Cup - Group A - Egypt vs Uruguay - Ekaterinburg Arena, Yekaterinburg, Russia - June 15, 2018 Uruguay's Jose Gimenez celebrates scoring their first goal with Martin Caceres and Diego Godin REUTERS/Darren Staples TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

(Reuters) - Blaming nerves for their underwhelming 1-0 opening World Cup win against Egypt, Uruguay vowed to be sharper and faster when they face Saudi Arabia on Wednesday.

Uruguay beat a 48-year curse of failing to win a World Cup finals opener on Friday, but needed an 89th-minute header to do so. And unusually, Barcelona striker Luis Suarez missed three golden chances to score.

But Rodrigo Bentancur brushed aside concerns about the twice world champions’ form and said they would be in top shape for their second game of Group A.

“The first game is over and nerves are easing a bit,” the Juventus midfielder told reporters.

“The other day the game was a little slow. We all lacked a little mobility,” said Bentancur, vowing the South Americans would be faster and get the ball forwards.

A victory against low-ranked Saudi Arabia and Russia in their final group games will be good preparation for what will undoubtedly be much stiffer test in the last 16, where they will probably face either Spain or Portugal.

Uruguay are determined not to be complacent, given that tournament favourites Brazil, Germany, Spain and Argentina all failed to win their first games.

“It’s a very even World Cup,” said winger Cristian Rodriguez.

Writing by Alexandra Ulmer, editing by Pritha Sarkar

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