The World Cup quarter finals begin on Friday and they start with arguably the most difficult tie to call as Uruguay take on France. The South Americans have been excellent so far in Russia but are likely to be without key man Edinson Cavani after the striker went off injured against Portugal last time out after scoring two fine goals. His injury, combined with the way France beat Argentina in their last 16 game means the European side will approach this game as slight favourites.
Yet, they will know that whilst Cavani is a major absence, Uruguay have many more strengths. They have been the outstanding side defensively, led by Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin and they still have Luis Suarez up front. Whether Oscar Tabarez sticks with a 4-4-2 or adopts a more defensive 4-5-1 to cope without Cavani remains to be seen but either way they are a tough side who are very difficult to break down.
Meanwhile, the French will be flying high after their 4-3 win over Argentina in what was a superb game. In truth, it’s the first time Didier Deschamps’ men have convinced in Russia but they could be finding form at the right time. Youngster Kylian Mbappe was the star man, terrorising the opposition with his electric pace and he will be a major threat in Nizhny Novgorod.
Here we will give you Uruguay vs France betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key players and a Uruguay vs France prediction for the quarter-final clash.
Our Uruguay vs France Prediction: Uruguay 0-1 France
Our Uruguay vs France prediction tips is for France to just about edge what should be a very tight, competitive game.
Whilst there is a chance he could still feature, Cavani is not going to be fully-fit and you can’t stress just how much of a miss he will be. He has a great understanding with Suarez and the duo are one of the most effective partnerships in the world and would’ve provided the South Americans with a real threat up top. Of course, that won’t be completely diminished but Cristian Stuani, the likely replacement, isn’t the same player.
That should ensure the French dominate the ball and territory, although Uruguay may be happy with that. However, Les Bleus have a lot of quality all over the pitch, from Paul Pogba in midfield to Antoine Griezmann, Mbappe and Olivier Giroud, who will give them another option up top. Therefore, France have a lot of variety going forward and it should be enough to eventually break down the stubborn Uruguay defence.
Our recommended tip – France to win
Given that extra quality in the final third, we think France will edge this game, although there’s no doubt it will be tough.
Yet, this is a France squad that looks complete and they could still take up their performance level up a notch or two. They’ve done enough so far but peaked last time against Argentina which is a good sign. They have a good balance in the side, although Blaise Matuidi’s suspension means a change is needed on the left side. Yet, Thomas Lemar or Corentin Tolisso could come in and they still have great pace and skill on the bench in the form of Ousmane Dembele.
So, whilst Uruguay are resilient opponents, it’s hard to see the French not scoring as the game progresses. They can play directly, they can play intricate passes and they have the pace to get in behind and cause trouble. Ultimately, that is why they should eventually break La Celeste down and if they get the opener the dynamics of the match change and it will suit France who are great at countering at speed.
The clash in Nizhny Novgorod will be the eighth fixture between the two nations and it’s one that France have historically struggled with. The European side have just one win, which was back in 1985, whilst they’ve failed to win any of the three World Cup encounters. It’s also not one the fans should expect goals from, with four 0-0’s in the past five games.
As for recent performances, Uruguay have been impressive. They did what was required in successive 1-0 wins over Egypt and Saudi Arabia before turning on the style against Russia to top the group. That set up a last 16 clash with Portugal and it was another assured display. Cavani was the hero with two goals but once again they looked very strong defensively, dealing with Cristiano Ronaldo extremely well. They were happy to concede possession and the whole side put in a big effort to claim a deserved win.
Similarly, France have improved when they’ve needed to step up. They battled for wins against Australia and Peru before boring everyone in a goalless draw with Denmark that meant they topped the group. Given the attacking talent in Deschamps’ team, it’s frustrating for neutrals who saw them set up conservatively. Yet, that changed against Argentina, with Les Bleus ripping them apart with the pace of Mbappe. They won 4-3 but importantly showed character to come from behind at 2-1 and they were comfortably the better team despite the close scoreline.
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Players to watch – Luis Suarez & Kylian Mbappe
With Cavani out, even more responsibility will be on the Barcelona forward to deliver for his country in this crucial game. Suarez is a superb player but he hasn’t found his best form in Russia yet, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be able to hurt the French. The European side looked vulnerable at times against Argentina and Suarez will have been delighted watching that. Chances may not come as easy in a defensive Uruguay side but if the former Liverpool hitman gets one he could make the difference.
The star man for France is easy. Mbappe gave Argentina a torrid time, winning a penalty and scoring two goals. Quite simply, he was too good and too fast for them but it’s going to be a different game against Uruguay who will be physical against him and will not give him space. However, he will be confident after his last performance and is still a major threat with his ability as he looks to follow up on that incredible display.