Uruguay and France will square off in the first quarterfinal of the World Cup on Friday in Novgorod.
Uruguay has been excellent so far in the competition, impressing particularly through discipline and tactical consistency, as well as a well structured defense. As a result, the South Americans won all their matches and allowed just one goal in their wins over Egypt (1-0), Saudi Arabia (1-0), Russia (3-0) and Portugal (2-1). Of course, besides the well oiled defense and sound tactical consistency, Uruguay has two difference makers up front in Cavani and Suarez, who have both been in great form – particularly Cavani. However, the PSG striker will not be able to start this quarterfinal clash and might miss the game altogether, so that is horrible news for the La Celeste.
France is coming after a 4-3 win over Argentina, in which Kylian Mbappe was particularly impressive. A fair case can be made that France has the most talented team in the World Cup, and they certainly have a perfect mix between youth and experience. Nevertheless, France hasn`t played that well in the World Cup. They were certainly very disappointing in the group stage despite finishing first, and even against Argentina they weren`t very good, scoring 4 goals out of 4 shots on target and conceding three against a team in complete disarray.Bet on Uruguay vs France and claim your 100% (100 Euro) freebet at Ohmbet now!
Team news & lineups:
Cavani will not start for Uruguay, and he`s doubtful to even feature at all. France has Matuidi suspended and Sidibe questionable.
Uruguay: Muslera – Caceres, Gimenez, Godin, Laxalt – Nandez, Torreira, Bentancur, Vecino – Stuani, Suarez
France: Lloris – Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez – Kante, Pogba – Mbappe, Griezmann, Dembele – Giroud
France is rated at evens to win this match in regular time by the bookmakers, and indeed that seems low. Despite their talent and their win against Argentina, France does not look convincing.
Beating Argentina was all well and good, but the French were lucky to convert 100% of their shots on goal against an out of form and very old Argentina team. They played great for 30 minutes or so, and pretty poorly for the rest of the game. And this performance came after France seemed to lack cohesion, communication and simply looked disjointed during the group stages, when again fortune favored them against Australia (2-1, completely fluke and undeserved win) and Peru (1-0, Peru being arguably the better team). With Denmark it was a boring 0-0 draw which suited both sides.
Of course, France remains dangerous, and there`s always the chance they could raise their game in the final stages of their competition. However, they do seem to have some chronic problems which are not easily fixable (lack of cohesion and communication, defense also looked bad against Argentina). And, above all, they will meet a very good Uruguay team. Anything less than France’s best might not be good enough.
Facing a perfectly organized and disciplined Uruguay team might be the worst scenario for a France team which still seems in the process of trying to find itself and its identity. If Cavani was healthy I would have gone as far as to say that Uruguay is the team to beat here. Without him Uruguay looks like the outsider, but I still can`t find reasons to give France 50% chances to win in regular time – which is what the bookies are doing.
I find value on the South Americans even without their star striker (I`ll presume he will be out, even though he still has a small but realistic shot to feature in the second half), so my tip will be Uruguay to cover the +0,5 handicap. Prediction: Uruguay – France 0-0 (Uruguay wins at penalties).