Published: Sat, June 30, 2018
Sport | By Tony Jimenez

Uruguay vs Portugal | 30 Jun 2018

Uruguay vs Portugal | 30 Jun 2018

A less impressive narrow win against Saudi Arabia reduced their chance a little but they go into the knockout phase back on that 5% chance of lifting the World Cup.

Essentially a one-man team spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal have dazzled and baffled this summer, their fortunes revolving around the Real Madrid talisman.

Portugal opened their World Cup campaign in Sochi with a thrilling 3-3 draw against Spain, and midfielder Adrien Silva said his team have what it takes to score against a Uruguay rear-guard that has not been breached this year.

Mixed bag: Ronaldo scored four goals in the first two matches, including a hat-trick against Spain, but then missed a crucial penalty against Iran that condemned his side to second place. That means he has 85 global goals, more than any other male European player in history. "And everybody will try and give their utmost tomorrow as to prevail". Portugal sneaked into the knockout stage after almost losing to Iran in its third group stage match.

Uruguay defender Sebastian Coates warned his team not to focus exclusively on Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of their World Cup last-16 clash with Portugal. But he also admitted it'll be a group effort trying to slow down Portugal's star. When he's on top of his game, he's the leader of that team.

"That is an additional factor". There will be a lot of world-class players locking horns against each other in the round of 16 match but the spotlight will be on two undoubted global footballing icons - Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez. Not Diego Godin. Nobody. "Not just Godin. We will have to work collectively in order to try and limit the effect that he can have". Oscar Tabarez is the longest-serving worldwide manager.

"I don't think it will be a duel between Suarez and Ronaldo", Alves said on Thursday. "He is the best player in the world in my opinion and it's natural that the team depends on him, but you can ask the same question to Uruguay's coach too, if his team depends on Suarez or (Edinson) Cavani". The ageing defenders have shown that they are vulnerable with pace, Suarez certainly will be looking to unsettle the duo if Uruguay is to make it to the quarters.

But Santos reiterated that not even Ronaldo can solve things by himself.

"It's the team that has to play, if Ronaldo plays alone we're going to lose". "It's impossible for a player to win by himself. You have a coach who has been working with them for 12 years, very experienced, very high-quality", he said, adding that they have yet to concede a goal in 2018.

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