Portugal and Uruguay are set to lock horns in a mouth-watering Group H encounter on Monday night.
A win for Portugal will send them through to the next round. But, three points will not guarantee the same to Diego Alonso’s troops, as they go into the clash with only a point. But it will be a massive leap for Uruguay towards the knockout stages.
Cristiano Ronaldo got his name on the record books as the first footballer to score in five World Cups when he dispatched the penalty to get his team 1-0 up against Ghana. But, it was far from an easy win for A Selecao as Ghana responded with goals from André Ayew and Osman Bukari.
Goals from João Félix and Rafael Leão got Portugal a 3-2 win. Three more points should be enough to book their round of 16 tickets.
Portugal have been mostly out of the title talk, but a convincing win against fellow dark horses Uruguay can put them under the limelight.
Uruguay came close to scoring twice against South Korea, but the woodwork denied them. So, they had to stay content with a point and head to the second matchday in pursuit of their first win.
It has been over seventy years since Uruguay took the World Cup trophy back home.
However, La Celeste have made it to the semifinals once and the quarterfinals once in their last three World Cup campaigns. They have enjoyed more success in the competition lately than their Monday night rivals. Also, they have a formidable squad at their disposal. So, Uruguay will fancy their chances against Cristiano Ronaldo and company.
William Carvalho made a positive impact after coming off the bench to replace Otávio. So Fernando Santos could choose to hand the Real Betis man a start.
Rafael Leão provided a spark of brilliance in a cameo appearance as well. But, the AC Milan star will find it difficult to displace any of Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, and João Félix from the lineup.
The Portugal match should come too soon for Ronald Araújo.
So, Martin Caceres should partner Diego Godín at the centre of the defence. Edinson Cavani is likely to start on the bench again as Luis Suárez leads the line for Uruguay.
Darwin Núñez and Facundo Pellistri will form the supporting cast.
Portugal showed their defensive frailties against Ghana, but their attacking prowess was also evident.
Uruguay lack the cutting edge in their attack at the moment.
So, we don’t see them outscoring Portugal in what should be an entertaining encounter between two top sides.
We are expecting another 3-2 win for Portugal.
Date: November 29
Kickoff Time: 12:30 AM IST
Venue: Lusail Iconic Stadium.