FIFA World Cup: Uruguay vs France preview

Uruguay and France kick off the series of quarter-final battles at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, the two teams will clash on Friday afternoon at Nizhny Novgorod Stadium. The last direct meeting was a friendly match back in 2013, which Uruguay won 1-0 after the previous four matches in all competitions had ended goalless. Uruguay and France have played in the same group at the 2002 and 2010 World Cup final tournaments and both that matches ended 0-0, with France finishing last in the respective group on both occasions. Overall, Uruguay have won three of the seven direct matches while France have never tasted victory against the South Americans.

Uruguay had a solid run at the 2018 World Cup so far and it seems that they had been getting better with every match. They started with narrow 1-0 victories over Egypt and Saudi Arabia, then turned on the style in a 3-0 triumph over host nation Russia and in the last sixteen they defeated European champions Portugal 2-1 thanks to a double from striker Edinson Cavani. However, the Paris Saint-Germain forward had to limp off the pitch due to a thigh injury and might not be able to play against France. Barcelona star Luis Suarez also has some fitness issues after having picked up a knock in training but he should be able to play.

France had a string of low-key performances during the group stage, barely squeezing past Australia and Peru and ending the group stage with an ultra-boring goalless draw against Denmark, a result which allowed both teams to pull through. The French did a lot more in the first knockout round when they earned a 4-3 victory over Argentina thanks to a majestic performance from young forward Kylian Mbappe. First-choice right-back Djibril Sidibe is still an injury concern but Benjamin Pavard has done well at right-back and even scored his first ever goal for the national team against Argentina. Midfielder Blaise Matuidi is suspended for this match and might be replaced by Ousmane Dembele.

Probable line-ups:

Uruguay: Muslera - Caceres, Gimenez, Godin, Laxalt - Nandez, Torreira, Vecino - Bentancur - Suarez, Cavani

France: Lloris - Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez - Kante, Pogba - Mbappe, Griezmann, Dembele - Giroud

My prediction: 1-1 draw after 90 minutes, should be a tight match between two teams that have grown since the start of the tournament.

Here are the odds for the match at Bet365:

Uruguay win - 4.60
Draw - 3.20
France win - 2.00

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