URUGUAY vs RUSSIA: Both Russia and Uruguay have qualified for the knock out stages of the FIFA World Cup 2018. This, after both teams had drawn victories off their first two games. Russia have won games ever so nonchalantly while Uruguay had to do it the hard way. The 2-time world champions have scored only 2 goals in 2 games, whereas, the Russians have smashed the back of the net 8 times. However, for the Russia vs Uruguay contest, the home side is bound to be tested to the limit. How will they respond? Can the likes of Aleksandr Golovin & Denis Cheryshev overpower the lethal duo of Edinson Cavani & Luis Suarez? Are the Russians good enough to go all the way? Let’s examine.
WHERE: SAMARA ARENA, SAMARA
WHEN: 7:30 PM, IST
The teams have played each other 8 times with Russia finishing first 6 times. In the World tournament, both teams have won one game each.
MORE THAN A DEAD RUBBER
Although both teams have qualified for the next round, topping the group then becomes the highest priority. In this case, however, if Russia tops Group A, they’ll be either facing Spain or Portugal, considering they both either draw or win their respective games. The probability of the second-placed team in Group A facing either the 2010 champions or Cristiano’s Portugal is fairly equal. A benediction or a curse? Seems the latter.
Jose Maria Gimenez’s inclusion hasn’t been confirmed as the defender faced a right thy injury. Stanislav Cherchesov hasn’t declared his replacement yet.
Oscar Tabarez, the Russian manager has been assertive on not changing the team’s combination. They’ll field the same eleven that beat Egypt.
EXPECTED PLAYING 11
Goalkeeper: Fernando Musler
Defenders: Martin Caceres, Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez, Guillermo Varela
Midfielders: Matias Vecino, Rodrigo Bentacur, Carlos Sanchez, Cristian Rodriguez
Strikers: Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez
Goal Keeper: Igor Akinfeev
Defenders: Mario Fernandes, Sergie Ignashevich, Ilya Kutepov, Yuri Zhirkov.
Midfielders: Roman Zobnin, Yuri Gazinskiy, Denis Cheryshev, Aleksandr Golovin, Aleksandr Samedov
Strikers: Fedor Smolov
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
The PSG striker hasn’t been on the scoresheet yet, but his work-rate can’t be questioned whatsoever. His synergy with Luis Suarez is one of the most significant partnerships in the World Cup. Uruguay have scored only 2 goals so far, but against a free-flowing Russians it’s going to be end-to-end football and that’s when Edinson Cavani is at his lethal best. Whether Stanislav Cherchesov changes his strategies for this poacher will be there to see, but Cavani will be the man to watch out for. This is probably Russia’s biggest test before they play the knockout game and who better than Cavani to get their defence tested.
Golovin is easily Russia’s best player and has been the major supplier moving forward. Deft touches, dextrous through balls and immaculate technique, Golovin has got it all. He’s scored one goal so far in the World Cup and has made 2. In Roman Zobnin, he’s got an able partner and for Russia to dismiss Uruguay, Golovin and Zobnin have to dominate the midfield. They’ve got the likes of Denis Cheryshev who’s made scoring a habit. Against the South American giants, they’ll need Golovin to display his A-game. Will he produce the goods?
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Against the South Americans, the Russians have lost all their last 4 games. This also includes the defeat against Uruguay in the year 1970.
Russia have a goal difference of a positive 7 after the first two games. The host nations who’ve had a GD(goal difference) of +5 or more in the first two games have gone on to win the World Cup. France had a +7 GD in 1998, Italy +6 in 1934 & Uruguay +5 in 1930
Fernando Muslera will wear his 100th cap for Uruguay. He’ll be the 7th Uruguayan to reach this landmark.
Both teams will be looking to grab pole position for Group A and with the Russians scoring a multitude of goals, La Celeste’s back 4 will be tested. Without Gimenez, the Uruguayan defence won’t be at its sturdiest best, but in Diego Godin, they have a skipper who’s managed the best in the World with aplomb. Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani will cause problems for the home team and because they have that quality up-front, I predict an Uruguayan win. 2-1
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