Uruguay vs Portugal preview, betting tips and prediction
Under 1.5 goals @ 4/7 with Coral
This Uruguay side have been compared to Atletico Madrid and that makes sense. After all, their central defence is comprised of Atletico stars Godin and Gimenez. Both teams pride themselves on the strength of their backlines.
Like Atletico, Uruguay are also rich up front. They boast the likes of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. However, the big difference between the two sides is that Atletico have a midfield that can compete with the best. The likes of Saul Niguez and Koke boss the middle of the park for them and Uruguay have no equivalent. This will be their downfall. Their route to the knockout stages was, for the most part, comfortable but henceforth they will face teams with superior midfielders and then the quality of defensive stars will really be tested.
Portugal are similar to Uruguay in the sense that they’re hard to beat. They haven’t lost at any tournament since the 2014 World Cup, where they crashed out at the group stage. Drawing six of their seven games on the way to winning Euro 2016, they’ve remained stubborn so far in Russia. Cristiano Ronaldo is the star of the side but they’re hardly a one-man team. With the likes of Bernardo Silva, William Carvalho and Joao Mario, they can win this game in the centre of the park.
This writer wasn’t impressed with Uruguay after their abysmal display in the 1-0 win over Saudi Arabia. However, they repaired their reputation somewhat with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Russia to top the group. There, they showed more desire, taking an actual interest in playing positive football. Suarez and Cavani were on target, which will encourage Oscar Tabarez.
Defensive doubts follow Portugal throughout Russia. They only kept one clean sheet in the group stage and looked very shaky in the 1-1 draw with Iran. Ronaldo wasn’t at his best against the Iranians. It was a controversial game that rattled the Portuguese. Their goal came from an exquisite trivela goal by Ricardo Quaresma, the winger’s trademark strike.
Gimenez sat out the final group game and there are doubts over whether he’ll be fit to face Portugal. If he’s not then Sebastian Coates will take his place.
Portugal should have a fully-fit squad to choose from.