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Uruguay v Portugal: Can Uruguay keep Ronaldo out?

Charlie Dear | 30 June 2018

Will Ronaldo step-up again?

Tonight pits Uruguay and Portugal together in the second of the last-16 ties.

La Celeste eased through Group A with three wins from three games and didn’t concede a goal.

They’ll be encouraged by both their star strikers getting off the mark as well.

Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani both found the net in the 3-0 win over Russia.

As for Portugal, their tournament has rested on the individual brilliance of Cristiano Ronaldo so far.

A hat-trick in the draw against Spain and the winner over Morocco have been pivotal in his nation’s success.

The Coral News team look at where it could be won and lost…

Mean defence

Uruguay will be hoping their solid rear-guard can keep Cristiano Ronaldo and company at bay. The Atletico Madrid duo of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez has looked impenetrable at the heart of the back-line.

Oscar Tabarez’s side are the only nation to have three clean sheets in the tournament so far.

Godin’s especially looking instrumental to their dogged defensive style and is often the man to switch up the tempo when the team goes flat.

Portugal do have some other very talented players including Bernardo Silva and Ricardo Queresma but they haven’t looked convincing yet.

It will take something special – like Quaresma’s goal against Iran – to breach Uruguay’s mean defence.

Suarez-Cavani link-up

Suarez was wasteful in the first game against Egypt, so the fact he and Edinson Cavani came to the party in the last two games means they could have reason to celebrate.

Uruguay have introduced a young and fledgling midfield since the 2014 tournament, which whilst exciting, means the forwards have more pressure to deliver.

Against Egypt they couldn’t link-up effectively, but with the individual quality they both have you know a moment of genius isn’t far away.

Suarez was a dark-horse for the Golden Boot in Russia. So with the knock-out rounds here, he will be champing at the bit to continue his good run.

Ronaldo effect

They may have proved they can win without him in the Euros in 2016. But with Ronaldo in the team they look like a different animal.

There’s been a few changes in the side in the last two years but Ronaldo remains irrepressible.

His hat-trick against Spain just underlined his brilliance. But also his importance to his country.

This campaign has shown A Selecao das Quinas have a habit of staying in games even when not playing well.

Bernardo Silva, Quaresma and Joao Mario will be able assistants but if Portugal do qualify then it’ll be Ronaldo who steals the show!

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