FIFA World Cup: Uruguay vs Portugal preview

Reigning European champions Portugal have a tough match ahead of them on Saturday as they face Group A winners Uruguay at Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi in the first knockout round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The two teams have never met before, quite strange considering that both have taken part in most World Cup final tournaments so far. Uruguay have won the World Cup twice, but those triumphs were in 1930 and 1950, while Portugal have finished third in 1966 and fourth in 2006.

Uruguay have not been the most spectacular team at the 2018 World Cup so far but they have been absolutely spotless: three wins in three matches, five goals scored and none conceded. It is true that they were lucky to beat Egypt with a late goal in the opening match, it is also true that they got a narrow win over Saudi Arabia, but they did end the group stage with a comfortable 3-0 victory over host nation Russia. Head coach Oscar Tabarez doesn't have any injury concerns ahead of Saturday's match.

Portugal had a lot of suffering to go through during their last group stage match, they nearly lost their qualifying place as Iran missed a huge chance to take all three points in stoppage time. Portugal won just one of their three group matches, 1-0 over Morocco, and their defence looked particularly uncertain during the 3-3 draw with Spain in the opening match. The Portuguese seem to be relying heavily on Cristiano Ronaldo, who has scored four goals so far but also missed a penalty kick against Iran.

Probable line-ups:

Uruguay: Muslera - Varela, Gimenez, Godin, Caceres - Nandez, Vecino, Rodriguez - Bentancur - Cavani, Suarez

Portugal: Patricio - Soares, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro - Quaresma, Carvalho, Moutinho, Mario - Ronaldo, A. Silva

My prediction: Uruguay to win 1-0, I can't see Portugal scoring against Godin and company while Suarez and Cavani are likely to make something happen.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Uruguay win - 2.80
Draw - 3.00
Portugal win - 3.00

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