The knockout rounds of the World Cup have been determined and there are many intriguing ties. However, few are as tough to call as Uruguay vs Portugal which really is an excellent match up. Both sides are defence-minded, preferring to play on the counter and packing the midfield. Yet, they are also blessed with outrageous attacking quality with Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez on one side and Cristiano Ronaldo on the other.
Uruguay made light work of getting through the group stages, although they didn’t really impress until the final match against hosts Russia and they haven’t conceded a goal. That defensive structure and teamwork makes the South Americans one of the toughest sides to score against in the competition – but they haven’t faced Ronaldo yet.
For Portugal, they had a much more nervy way to the last 16. A remarkable draw with Spain, arguably the game of the tournament, got them off to a positive start but they were less convincing in victory over Morocco and a draw with Iran, where one goal for the opposition would’ve eliminated them. Ultimately though, once again Portugal have done just enough to qualify and will back themselves in a knockout format.
Here we will give you Uruguay vs Portugal betting tips, look at where the game will be won, the key players and a Uruguay vs Portugal prediction for the last 16 clash.
Our Uruguay vs Portugal Prediction: Uruguay 0-1 Portugal
Our Uruguay vs Portugal prediction tips is for an almight battle that will make this game watchable, even if there’s not a lot of goals, with the European side just nicking it.
Uruguay head into this game in great form, producing their best last time out against hosts Russia in what was a real sign of improvement from the early games. However, there’s no getting away from the fact that they were given an easy group and this will be a much more difficult test. Key man Suarez hasn’t been at his brilliant best and the side struggle to keep possession. If that continues, Portugal could just about edge what will be a tight clash.
For Portugal, they will be ready for the intense nature of this game as their fixture against Iran was effectively a play-off and they have already played a favourite in Spain. Performances haven’t been good but they have Ronaldo, who is in form, and have shown over the years that they are a side that knows how to win, with Pepe a giant for them in defence.
Our recommended tip – Portugal Draw No Bet
It’s that belief that makes us think Portugal will just about have the edge. They won Euro 2016 without playing well and that will give them such a boost ahead of this match as they know what it takes to succeed at a major tournament.
There’s no doubt that the similar styles these sides adopt means it won’t be a classic, yet the players on the pitch means fans won’t be able to take their eyes off it. However, a low-scoring encounter seems inevitable but the odds reflect that and there’s little value. Instead, punters should back Portugal to deliver once again because they are a side that have done so over the years.
Ronaldo gets the credit, understandably, but in Rui Patricio they have a keeper who stands up when needed, whilst Pepe has been immense for his country in the past two years, then the Real Madrid man does his thing up front. Yet, there is quality around that, with Bernardo Silva one who could be a gamechanger.
Either way, it’s such a tight game but Portugal are used to that and they have the best player on the pitch, so they could sneak though yet again. Although, a safer option may be choosing the draw no bet, which means you get your money back if it’s all square after 90 minutes.
The clash in Sochi will be just the third time this nations have met and the first at the World Cup, with Portugal unbeaten so far, winning one and drawing one. However the last game was back in 1972.
As for their form, Uruguay qualified with maximum points from an easy group. They left it late to beat Egypt in the opener and were awful in a dull win over Saudi Arabia. Yet, they played with more balance, style and confidence in a 3-0 win over Russia and that will fill the side with belief.
Meanwhile, Portugal have only played well just once themselves. They dug out a point against Spain, thanks to Ronaldo, but showed quality, character and togetherness to stick with their Iberian neighbours who were rampant at times. After that, they scraped past Morocco undeservedly and made hard work of drawing with Iran, when Ronaldo missed a penalty, that meant they had a tougher path to the final.
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Players to watch – Luis Suarez & Cristiano Ronaldo
You could easily make a case for Diego Godin and Pepe being the key players in Sochi in what will be a defensive game but the star attackers could decide the outcome.
Suarez hasn’t been at his best but has still scored two goals. He is an intelligent player, explosive at times and importantly scores goals. If Uruguay get one chance they will want it to fall to the Barcelona man and it could be that sort of game. His last two World Cup’s have not ended the way he would’ve wanted and this is his chance to make a real positive difference.
Similarly, if Portugal get an opportunity, they will need Ronaldo to take it, and he probably will. He is their talisman, the side is set up to create for him and the Real Madrid man has reinvented himself as the ultimate goalscorer. He took them to a point against Spain and a similarly brilliant performance could be required here if the European champions are to make the last eight.