FIFA World Cup 2018, Pre-Quarterfinals – Portugal vs Uruguay – Preview
With Portugal and Uruguay set to face off for a place in the FIFA World Cup 2018 quarter-finals, some players renowned for the dark arts will be under a microscope.
Portugal to start as favorites
Luis Suarez of Barcelona and Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo are expected to be key figures in the second of the last-16 ties. Ronaldo will be aiming to lift himself back above England’s Harry Kane, who leads the goal-scoring charts so far in the mega event. The 33-year-old has four goals so to his name.
After Portugal progressed as Group B runners-up, Uruguay, along with Croatia, are the only team to have won all their group games so far. They beat hosts Russia 3-0 in their final game of the groups.
Cristiano Ronaldo will surely be on the scoreboard, and we can see him scoring first in a 3-1 Portugal win which Betway is offering odds of 40/1 for.
This will be the third encounter between Uruguay and Portugal and their first at the World Cup. They hadn’t faced each other since July 1972 when they drew 1-1 at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã stadium. Portugal are so far unbeaten in their two previous meetings (W1 D1).
Penalty shoot-outs excluded, Portugal had lost only one of their last 17 games at major tournaments (W8 D8), a 4-0 defeat against Germany at the 2014 World Cup.
Suarez – a key for Uruguay
However, they have lost their last three games in the World Cup knockout stages (1 goal scored, five conceded). Since the format of the World Cup changed in 1986 to include a round of 16, Uruguay got eliminated on three of the four occasions they’ve reached that stage. Losing in 1986, 1990 and 2014, but progressing in 2010 against South Korea.
Uruguay will be looking to win their opening four games at a World Cup tournament for only the second time after 1930 when they won the first ever World Cup. Uruguay are yet to concede a single goal at the 2018 World Cup, facing just six shots on target in three games.
The last South American team not to concede in their first four matches of a World Cup tournament were Brazil in 1986. All five of Uruguay’s goals at the 2018 World Cup got scored from set-pieces; (3 from corners, one from direct free-kick and one from indirect free-kick). Meanwhile, three of Portugal’s last four goals have come from outside the box.
Luis Suarez has scored seven World Cup goals for Uruguay, second only to Oscar Miguez (8) – Suarez scored a brace against South Korea in his only previous World Cup appearance in the round of 16 back in 2010.
Cristiano Ronaldo has so far failed to score a single goal for Portugal in the knockout stages of the World Cup: 424 minutes, zero goals. However, he did score a hat-trick against Spain in his previous game at Sochi’s Fisht Stadium. If he plays, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (37) will equal Bastian Schweinsteiger (38) as the player with the most appearances at World Cups + European Championships.
This is Fernando Santos’ fourth major tournament in a row as manager. He reached the knockout stages on each previous occasions: Euro 2012 quarterfinals & World Cup 2014 round of 16 with Greece; Euro 2016 winners and at the very least World Cup 2018 round of 16 with Portugal.
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