Luis Suarez brought the host nation back down to earth with a bump in the city upon which the Russian space programme was forged.
Conjuring images of the James Bond villain Jaws eating through cosmic cables in Moonraker, his curling free-kick launched Uruguay launched into the last-16 as Group A winners.
Suarez ended both of his last two World Cup appearances in disgrace with a deliberate handball in South Africa and sinking his teeth into Giorgio Chiellini in Brazil.
Uruguay striker Luis Suarez wheels away to celebrate after opening the scoring against Russia on Monday afternoon
The Barcelona star slides on his knees and punches the air after giving his country the lead against the World Cup hosts
Suarez stepped up to score a free-kick, bending the ball into the bottom corner of the net from just outside the penalty area
Russia goalkeeper Igor Akinfeev dives to his left but can’t prevent Suarez’s precise effort from finding the back of the net
Players from both sides watch on as Suarez’s strike beats Akinfeev in the 10th minute of the match at Samara Arena
The former Liverpool favourite is mobbed by his team-mates after scoring his second goal of the World Cup group stage
URUGUAY: Muslera 6.5; Caceres 6, Coates 6, Godin 7, Laxalt 7.5; Nandez 7 (Rodriguez 73, 6.5), Torreira 8, Vecino 6.5; Bentancur 7 (De Arrascaeta 63min, 6); Suarez 7, Cavani 7 (Gomez 90)
Subs not used: Campana, Varela, Sanchez, Stuani, Gaston Silva, Maxi Pereira, Urreta, Martin Silva
Manager: Oscar Tabarez 7
Goals: Suarez 10, Cheryshev (OG) 23, Cavani 90
RUSSIA: Akinfeev 6; Smolnikov 4, Kutepov 5, Ignashevich 5, Kudriashov 6; Gazinsky 5, Zobnin 6; Samedov 5, Miranchuk 5 (Smolov 60, 6), Cheryshev 6 (Fernandes 38, 6.5); Dzyuba 6
Subs not used: Lunev, Semenov, Kuzyaev, Granat, Anton Miranchuk, Golovin, Zhirkov, Erokhin, Gabulov
Booked: Gazinsky, Smolnikov
Sent off: Smolnikov
Manager: Stanislav Cherchesov 6
Referee: Malang Diedhiou (Senegal) 6
That’s not to say he won’t self-combust when the stakes are higher, of course, but his early goal set the tone.
Uruguay extended their lead with an own-goal by Denis Cheryshev and Edinson Cavani added the third in the last seconds.
Russia played for almost an hour with 10 men after Igor Smolnikov collected two yellow cards in eight first-half minutes.
Smolnikov will miss the next game and his boss Stanislav Cherchesov kicked the water bucket in frustration.
As runners-up, however, they might find solace in a return to the Luzhniki where they achieved lift-off with a 5-0 win against Saudi Arabia in the opening game of the finals.
Uruguay go to Sochi in good shape, and growing into the competition. They are solid at the back, yet to concede a goal, with a hugely experienced and well respected manager and a nicely balanced team.
In Suarez and Cavani they have two lethal goalscorers, with Rodrigo Bentancur of Juventus behind at the top of a midfield diamond.