Uruguay vs Russia – Samara Arena, Samara – June 25 – Group A clash
Both Russia and Uruguay faced the same opponents, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, in their Group games. While the host nation made short work of their not very fancied opponents, the South Americans struggled to win 1-0 in both outings.Russia, written off by their fans even before the tournament began, have had the best starts ever in a World Cup by any team equalling the eight goals scored by Italy from their 2 initial games way back in 1934.
Oscar Tabarez’s Uruguay have been totally reliant on their two prime strikers, Barcelona’s Luiz Suarez and PSG’s Edison Cavani, to get them goals. Suarez who was particularly off-key in the opener against Egypt showed glimpses of his predatory self against Saudi Arabia when he got his 100th international goal. The South American’s performance in their outings so far has been listless. In fact, quite shockingly, it was the Saudis who hogged more possession in their last game and it was only a goal-keeping error on the part of the Arabs that did them in. They had as many as 8 attempts on the Uruguayan goal which doesn’t bode well for the South American team’s defense when they run into a rampaging Russia on Tuesday.
The Uruguay defense has lot of depth and experience in Guillermo Varela, Jose Gimenez and Atletico Madrid central back Diego Godín but could be severely tested by a Russian attack high on goals. Compared to the just 2 goals the South Americans have got from their 2 games, Denis Cheryshev and Artem Dzyuba have alone 5 between them. The Russians incidentally had less attempts on goal than the Egyptians but made the most of it.
The Russians will be facing their first tough opposition at Samara on the 25th and the same applies to Uruguay.The hosts, high on adrenaline from their two thumping wins, will try to dominate while Uruguay will try some dour defending and hitting on the breaks through Suarez and Cavani. That’s one likely manner in which the South American could get a goal or two. One can expect the hosts to do the same with the momentum they will carry into Tuseday’s clash.
Tabarez will probably adopt the 4-3-1-2 formation he did in his previous games with his two main men playing in the striker’s role. Russian coach Stanislav Cherchesov looks likely to adopt his successful formation of 4-2-3-1 with Dzyuba in the role of the lone striker and Cheryshev, Aleksandr Golovin and Aleksandr Samedov playing behind him.
The good thing going for both the sides is they both are into the Round of 16 and one could expect an open game with both sides trying to attack.
For the bookmakers, the South Americans appear to be favourites as the odds below suggest. But momentum is surely with the Russians. So it could be anybody’s game.
Uruguay to WIN, Best Odds 2.9 (odds correct 25th June and subject to change)