Stadion Nizhny Novgorod – World Cup Quarter-Final
Uruguay take on France on Friday afternoon in the first of the World Cup quarter-final fixtures, as both teams eye a place in the last four. The Uruguayans edged past Portugal in the last round, while Les Bleus came out on top of a 4-3 thriller with Argentina.
Uruguay and France have met seven times before, but Les Bleus have been successful just once. The two teams have met at the World Cup finals three times, with the last two of those fixtures, in 2002 and 2010, finishing goalless. Luis Suarez scored the winning goal the last time they played each other, Uruguay winning a friendly 1-0 in 2013.
Coach Oscar Tabarez has real concerns about the fitness of striker Edinson Cavani, who hobbled off after scoring twice for Uruguay against Portugal in the round of 16. If he isn’t fit, Cristhian Stuani or Maxi Gomez will most likely replace him in the starting XI. Meanwhile, France have problems in defence as Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe struggle to shake off injuries. Lucas Hernandez and Benjamin Pavard should feature again at left-back and right-back respectively.
Uruguay v France Preview and Predictions
France are the favourites to win in normal time on Friday afternoon at best odds of 11/10 with the bookmakers. Les Bleus played some scintillating attacking football to put four past Argentina in the last round – more goals than they had scored in their three previous matches in Russia. However, Didier Deschamps’ men didn’t impress in the group stage, struggling to create chances against defences sturdier than the Argentinian one.
And Uruguay’s backline is certainly organised. Tabarez’s side kept three consecutive clean sheets in the group stage, with Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez transferring their partnership at Atletico Madrid to the national team. But it’s at the other end where there may be a problem. Should Cavani miss Friday’s game, Suarez is their only real source of goals. That’s probably why the Uruguayans are 15/4 outsiders to win in 90 minutes. The draw is at 9/4.
Kylian Mbappe’s lightning pace helped get him a brace in the last round and - combined with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo exiting the tournament – some believed it to be the crowning of a new global superstar. Mbappe will undoubtedly start again against Uruguay and he’s at a very tempting 11/2 to score first – or 14/1 to grab two or more goals.
France to win and under 2.5 goals at 5/2
Cavani’s potential absence is a huge blow for Uruguay but their defence remains strong. France have plenty of tools to break them down but won’t destroy La Celeste.
Kylian Mbappe to score first at 11/2
Mbappe’s confidence is sky-high after his match-winning performance against Argentina. Another masterclass here could cement his place among the world’s top players.