Uruguay's Godin holds key to locking out Ronaldo

30 June, 2018, 01:15 | Author: Felix Jensen
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Between them, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez plundered 75 goals for their respective clubs last season but you can expect margins to be a whole lot tighter when they face each other with World Cup survival on the line in Sochi.

These two countries with a combined population of 13.5 million have always been overachievers on the worldwide scene - the last decade under Tabarez has seen two-time former winners Uruguay reach one World Cup semi-final and win one Copa America, while Portugal triumphed at Euro 2016.

"He is the best player in the world in my opinion and it's natural that the team depends on him, but you can ask the same question to Uruguay's coach too, if his team depends on Suarez or (Edinson) Cavani".

Uruguay have not exactly set this tournament alight with their attacking play either, but they are more adventurous and have a few more ideas when they come forward.

In their second match, Suarez's goal was enough to overcome Saudi Arabia, but 1-0 was a disappointing score against the team that hosts Russian Federation had put five past on the opening day.

The victor of Saturday's clash will face either France or Argentina in the quarter finals and, whatever the final score ends up being, one suspects that Ronaldo or Suarez will make an indelible imprint on the game. "We wanted to keep growing throughout the World Cup and after winning two matches 1-0, we wanted to do better today".

Portugal beat Poland on penalties on their way to winning Euro 2016.

They had previously edged out Morocco 1-0 after opening their campaign with a thrilling 3-3 draw against local rivals Spain.

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The four games that have been played in Sochi so far have seen an average of 3.5 goals.

And Uruguay has identified Ronaldo, with four goals so far at Russian Federation 2018, as the biggest threat to their hopes of a place in the last eight.

Uruguay switched from the usual 4-4-2 formation to a more fluid 4-3-2-1 against Russian Federation and reaped the benefits, but Oscar Tabarez will probably revert to type in expectation of a low-scoring game.

Portugal will be boosted by the return of Joao Moutinho, who only appeared as a late substitute against Iran due to illness.

Back in 2006, they defeated Netherlands 1-0 in the so-called "Battle of Nuremberg" to progress to the World Cup quarterfinals.

He did have a less-than-stellar performance in Portugal's last match against Iran, but the side's manager Fernando Santos was confident. Uruguay started slowly, but got better as it went on.

And the Uruguayans hold their opponents in equally high regard, conscious that Ronaldo is supported by younger talents like Bernardo Silva and Goncalo Guedes. "We've improved in possession thanks to the younger players but we haven't lost that commitment, that fight, the sacrifice and solidarity, the determination to overcome adversity".

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