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How Uruguay can get the best of Portugal

30 June, 2018, 16:48 | Author: Lora Ball
  • Cristiano Ronaldo looks on as Iran keeper Alireza Beiranvand makes the save

"They're a strong team but we also have our qualities and we will try to win the game". It took them an eternity to find the victor against Egypt but their displays against Saudi Arabia and Russian Federation were as professional as they come.

One of the three Round of 16 encounters to pitch conventional footballing powerhouses against each other, the Battle of Sochi brings together the Group A winners Uruguay and Group B runners-up Portugal.

Tabarez, who has coached Uruguay since 2006, has never hidden his admiration for his captain.

Although Uruguay's success has been built on defensive resilience encapsulated by captain Diego Godin, the combination of Suarez and Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani is one of the World Cup's most risky forward pairings in the competition. "When he's on top of his game, he's the leader of that team", Tabarez said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

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Godin, battle-hardened after years of working under Atletico coach Diego Simeone, has always been unapologetic about his country's uncompromising style. "We have our weapons and we're going to try to win".

"Some of my players know them better than I do".

Uruguay looks a tough side to crack with Atletico Madrid centre-back partnership proving quite a handful to the teams that have faced it.

But Santos reiterated that not even Ronaldo can solve things by himself. "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". "It's impossible for a player to win by himself".

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On Saturday, Gimenez - who scored Uruguay's late victor against Egypt - is set to rejoin Godin in central defence after missing the 3-0 victory over Russian Federation due to injury.

Coach Fernando Santos will have no issue upsetting the odds after Portugal's slow start, having coached them to European Championships glory two years ago despite winning only one game in 90 minutes.

Uruguay's formidable defence have not let in a goal at all in 2018, while Suarez has recovered from a poor first outing in Russian Federation to score in wins over Saudi Arabia and the hosts.

In Godin and Jose Gimenez, Uruguay have one of the most priceless commodities in worldwide football - a centre-back pairing which plays together week in and week out for Atletico Madrid.

No unrest in Argentina camp! - Sampaoli
Lionel Messi is frustrated and desperate to turn Argentina's World Cup around, according to Javier Mascherano. But against a resurgent Nigeria - who in November beat Argentina 4-2 in Krasnodar - they face a hard task.

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