Published: Sat, June 30, 2018
Sports | By Angie Alvarado

Ronaldo, Suarez put World Cup dreams on line as Portugal face Uruguay

Ronaldo, Suarez put World Cup dreams on line as Portugal face Uruguay

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez: "We need to improve very quickly [from the performance against Russia], because any match in the round of 16 will be extremely hard". Tabarez had devised his successful tactical system at a time when Uruguay did not boast of quality central midfielders, but the emergence of the likes of Vecino and Bentancur has comforted the veteran manager.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has received a boost in defence ahead of his side's clash with Portugal, and Atletico Madrid centre-back Jose Gimenez could come back into the XI after recovering from a thigh injury.

Uruguay keeps Ronaldo without a goal on a frustrating night for Portugal, and the South Americans get into the quarterfinals thanks to an Edinson Cavani goal. That miss, however, has probably fired the 33-year-old to come up with a stronger display in this encounter.

For Ronaldo it is a return to the same Fisht Stadium where he scored a hat-trick against Spain earlier in the tournament, but this time he will be up against a Uruguayan defence that was alone among the 32 teams in Russian Federation in coming through the group stage without conceding a goal.

"A match-up between Spanish sides Barcelona and Real Madrid, also known El Clasico, is one of the biggest rivalries in sport", Suarez said.

What's the latest news on the two teams?

"If Ronaldo plays alone we will lose", said Santos, whose team have gone 17 games without losing - not including penalty shoot-outs - at an worldwide tournament. "You have a coach who has been working with them for 12 years, very experienced, very high-quality", he said, adding that they have yet to concede a goal in 2018.

If he plays, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (37) will equal Bastian Schweinsteiger (38) as the player with the most appearances at World Cups and European Championships.

"I think it's going to be a great match, two teams that are going to try and win, each using their weapons".

Penalty shoot-outs excluded, Portugal have lost only one of their last 17 games at major tournaments (won eight, draw eight), a 4-0 defeat against Germany at the 2014 World Cup. They were poor against Iran and I think this is where their tournament ends. We've made it to the World Cup and in the last three matches we have shown what we can achieve. The Portuguese are undefeated in the 2 matches these two teams have played in, with the last match coming in 1972.

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