Uruguay versus Portugal presents one of the most tantalizing matchups of the round of 16. Both squads have elite goal scorers up front and both teams play an attractive brand of attacking football. Uruguay topped group A with three wins in three matches for 9 points and a +5 goal differential. Portugal were runners up in Group B with 5 points earned through two draws and a win, resulting in a +1 goal differential.
Uruguay have been clinical at finding timely goals. Defensive lapses by both Egypt and Saudi Arabia led to opportunistic goals and tidy 1-0 results. Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani for arguably the most lethal partnership of any team in the World Cup. They play well off each other and present Uruguay with a balanced attack. Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera has been a steadying influence with three clean sheets to show for his efforts. The engine that is making Uruguay hum along is their young talented midfielders Rodrigo Bentancur and Diego Laxalt. If both players play with poise, as they did in the 3-0 win against Russia, Uruguay can be devastating.
Portugal started the World Cup off with a bang in a 3-3 thriller against Spain. Christiano Ronaldo showed why he is arguably the best player in the world with a hat trick against a Spanish team who had a reputation for its vaunted defense. Ronaldo had the entire repertoire on display, showing that he can score from the penalty spot, from set pieces and can create his own shot. Ronaldo is the focal point, but Bernanardo Silva and André Silva can provide a spark to balance Portugal's attack. Quaresma's goal vs Iran was sublime, he is also a creative talent who provides Ronaldo with service that can stretch Uruguay's defence. Portugal's main weakness lies in its defensive unit. Pepe will have his hands full trying to deal with both Suarez and Cavani.
Uruguay are slightly favoured due to their consistent results, although they weren't challenged in the group phase. Portugal will present Uruguay with a test to prove whether they are contenders or pretenders.
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