Uruguay and France meet in the first quarter-final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™, a match that promises much and a reunion or two. Antoine Griezmann and Lucas Hernandez face off with Atletico Madrid team-mates Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, while Paris Saint-Germain strike partners Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe also cross paths. El Matador, who scored twice against Portugal before limping off, is an injury doubt for La Celeste.
Both teams are unbeaten heading into this clash of former world champions. While Uruguay have won all their games and have conceded just the one goal so far, Les Bleus knocked out Argentina in a spectacular Round of 16 clash.
France will look to the finishing skills of their forwards to extend their nine-match unbeaten run against South American sides at the World Cup, while Uruguayan belief will be buoyed by another revealing stat: on the six previous occasions La Celeste reached the last eight at the world finals, only once did they fail to progress.
Team reporter analysis
Florencia Simoes with Uruguay [Follow on Twitter | Facebook]
Uruguay are intent on continuing to make history at Russia 2018 and record their fifth win in a row. However, they know they are up against very tough opposition. La Celeste will line up in a 4-4-2 formation and the only doubt in coach Oscar Tabarez’s mind is whether to start with Edinson Cavani, who has been struggling with an injury, or to play Cristhian Stuani alongside Luis Suarez, instead.
Adrien Gingold with France [Follow on Twitter | Facebook]
Les Bleus have spent the last couple of days at their Istra base preparing for a tactical and physical battle. Calm and focused as usual, coach Didier Deschamps has expressed his concern that if France concede first against Uruguay, they may find it almost impossible to get back into the game. “It doesn’t change a thing if Cavani plays or not,” he warned. In regards to his starting line-up, the only question is who will replace the suspended Blaise Matuidi?
Did you know?
Aside from drawing comparisons with Pele’s performances at Sweden 1958 following his outstanding display against Argentina, Kylian Mbappe now stands second on France’s all-time list of top goalscorers at a single World Cup with three goals. He has some way to go to catch the man at the top of the tree: Just Fontaine, who helped himself to 13 goals in Sweden 60 years ago.
Uruguay: Fernando Muslera; Martin Caceres, Jose Maria Gimenez, Diego Godin, Diego Laxalt; Nahitan Nandez, Lucas Torreira, Matias Vecino, Rodrigo Bentancur, Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani/Cristhian Stuani
France: Hugo Lloris; Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernandez; N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba; Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Corentin Tolisso; Olivier Giroud