Russia headed into the last game of Group A of the World Cup on Monday against Uruguay having recorded two wins out of two. Their performances at the World Cup so far lifted the pre-tournament doom and gloom about their team’s chances of progression on home soil.
Uruguay brought the host nation right back down to earth with a 3-0 hammering. Admittedly, Russia had a player dismissed in the first period, and they managed to score an own goal. However, Uruguay almost effortless put them to the sword.
Such dangerous forwards
Uruguay’s strike partnership of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani has goals written all over it. For the last decade, the pair has been prolific in front of goal at the top level of European football. They both got on the scoresheet against Russia.
The pair has transferred their goalscoring form onto the international scene, as Cavani has scored 43 goals. Suarez is his country’s record goalscorer with 53 goals in 101 appearances.
There was a slight concern about Cavani’s form heading into the World Cup, as he had undergone a short drought in front of goal for La Celeste. The strike against Russia could lead to the PSG forward finding form in front of goal.
Such a solid defence
Uruguay have such a solid defensive set-up. They are such a well-drilled unit. Oscar Tabarez’s team have now kept six consecutive clean sheets, with three of those coming in their first games at the World Cup.
The South American team are so difficult to score against, with the brilliantly no-nonsense Atletico Madrid centre-back Diego Godin marshalling the backline. The 32-year-old has such a sense for sniffing out danger when the opposition are attacking.
His partnership with clubmate Jose Gimenez at the heart of La Celeste’s defence could be the key to Uruguay going deep into the competition at Russia 2018. Gimenez missed the Russia game through injury. However, he is likely to be fit for their last 16 games on Saturday night.
The other defenders in that backline Gustavo Varela and Sebastian Coates have undoubtedly performed better for their national team than they did in short spells in the Premier League as youngsters. The experienced Martin Caceres has also been solid.
Will be confident of beating Portugal
Uruguay will be highly confident of seeing Portugal in the last 16 of the competition. The Selecao rather struggled to qualification, just one point ahead of World Cup minnows Iran, after the pair drew 1-1 in their final game.
Naturally, Portugal’s significant attacking threat will be Golden Boot hopeful Cristiano Ronaldo. The 33-year-old has scored four times at World Cup 2018. However, the Real Madrid star saw a penalty kick saved against Iran and was fortunate to avoid a red card.
Looking at the two teams as a neutral, I would say that Uruguay have a better all-around team. The victory over the hosts certainly sent out a message that the South American side could be serious contenders to reach the latter stages of the competition in Russia.
Looking at Uruguay, they are strong in both defence and attack. The only worry would be creativity from the middle of the park. However, the win over Russia proved they could create chances and put them away when they come their way.
I can see Uruguay going a long way at this very open World Cup. A repeat of 2010’s semi-final appearance cannot be ruled out.
How far can Uruguay go at World Cup 2018?