Round of 16: Uruguay v Portugal soccer world cup Preview

Uruguay v Portugal soccer world cup Preview

Uruguay will take on Portugal on Saturday in what's likely to be a tightly contested affair. 

Saturday throws up a thrilling encounter as Group A winners, Uruguay, prepare to take on Group B runners-up, Portugal. Uruguay have been one of the most impressive sides in the competition thus far, but they will undoubtedly face their toughest test yet as Cristiano Ronaldo and co look to book their place in the next round.

Uruguay v Portugal | Round of 16 | Saturday 30 June | Fisht Stadium | 20:00

To Win (90 Mins)
Uruguay 7/4
Draw 37/20
Portugal 19/10

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Uruguay
From the get-go, Uruguay have showed that they’re in it to win it. They were the first country to ever win a soccer world cup, and Uruguay are showing that they would like to emulate that feat achieved in 1930.

Oscar Tabarez’s men are yet to concede a goal so far in Russia, and to their benefit, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani have found their scoring boots. Uruguay have looked absolutely rock-solid, and they should welcome back the return of Jose Gimenez, who missed their 3-0 demolition of hosts, Russia, due to injury.

In their other two group games, the South Americans easily shut out Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and although they didn’t have much of the ball in both games, Fernando Muslera was never really tested.

Gimenez and Diego Godin are a tried and tested defensive partnership, who know all about coming up against Cristiano Ronaldo, who is their rival in Madrid. It’s not going to be straightforward, but Uruguay will look to expose Portugal’s weak points and advance to the quarter-finals.


Portugal
Portugal suffer the consequences by finishing runners-up in Group B, facing a tough Uruguayan side. The uphill battles were eventually going to come in this year's showpiece so this will be a true test to their soccer world cup winning aspirations.

Fernando Santos’ side remain unbeaten in the competition, but some would still question that we’re yet to see the best of the European champions. In fact, in 2016, they made it all the way to the final and still won the Euro’s playing this same brand of football.

It’s their willingness and grit to stay in the game, and with Ronaldo capable of producing a moment of magic at any given time, you could just never write them off.

Ronaldo, like I’ve been saying, is the greatest footballer on the planet. Only time will tell whether he can do enough to guide Portugal to success once again, and perhaps finish the tournament, unlike in 2016.

Verdict: Uruguay Win (7/4)
It will be a sad day for Ronaldo as I don’t see his Portuguese side getting past this rugged Uruguayan team. Tabarez’s men have looked almost perfect and have impressed me as one of the toughest nations at the soccer world cup. The partnership of Gimenez and Godin should prove to be too good for Ronaldo, while the strike duo of Cavani and Suarez simply cannot be backed against.

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Jesse Nagel

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