The clash between Uruguay and Portugal will be played at the Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi on June 30th. Portugal barely made it to the Round of 16 as they weren’t a better side in any of three previous matches, but it seems that the luck from EURO 2016 is still following them. However, the Sky Blues are good enough to stop them and send them home, so the Portuguese will have a mountain to climb here, although the odds are not suggesting so.
Uruguay vs. Portugal
Three-Way: 1: Uruguay +200; X: +187 Draw; 2: Portugal +187 (Odds provided by Delaware Park Sportsbook)
Spread 0: Uruguay +100; Portugal -109
Total 2.5 goals: Over +187; Under -250
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Uruguay entered the World Cup in a slow mode as they beat Egypt and Saudi Arabia with 50% of strength, but they switched to a higher gear in the final game of the group when they defeated Russia, 3-0. Portugal will represent the first serious opponent at the tournament and it looks like the Sky Blues are well prepared for this tie, while the players could be fresher than the Portuguese as they didn’t give their maximum in the group phase.
On the other hand, the Navigators were lucky to get to the knockout stage and apparently, their only quality is Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored four out of Portugal’s five goals at the World Cup. Even though is known that Ronaldo is capable of driving his team forward, facing Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez is another story comparing it to Morocco and Iran defenders, but if someone can penetrate through that sturdy defense that didn’t allow a single goal yet, it’s Ronaldo.
Players to watch
Luis Suarez scored two goals so far at the World Cup and he could score much more, but the striker missed a few golden opportunities along the way, especially in the opening round against Egypt. Still, that doesn’t mean he will miss against Portugal when the chance arises, so the Navigators’ defense must be aware of his qualities in front of the goal. It’s going to be hard for the Portuguese to defend Suarez and Cavani, and one of them could easily knock them out of the tournament.
Cristiano Ronaldo is a natural choice as he already scored four goals at the World Cup and only Harry Kane is better with five at the moment. Ronaldo will try to drag his team forward and stay in the contention for the top goalscorer at the tournament, but if he struggles against a strong defensive duo Godin and Gimenez, it could be the end of Portuguese hopes.
Uruguay: Muslera; Varela, Godin, Gimenez, Caceres; Vecino, Torreira, Bentancur, Sanchez; Suarez, Cavani.
Portugal: Patricio; Cedric, Pepe, Fonte, Guerreiro; Carvalho, Moutinho, Mario, Silva, Quaresma; Ronaldo.
Uruguay’s chances to win the World Cup are now +2200, while the Sky Blues are +350 to reach the semi-finals. Portugal’s chances to win the World Cup are now +2500, while the Navigators are +350 to reach the semi-finals.
Portugal is a slight favorite here, but I believe the Uruguayans are closer to get a win than the Navigators. However, one tiny detail can decide this tilt and anything could happen, and the teams will not be prepared to play attacking football, so a draw looks like a real option on this one, as the extra time or penalty shootout could be on the cards.
The Pick: Draw (+187)