2018 FIFA World Cup

Sports
Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani scored twice in their last 16 win over Portugal but is an injury doubt

BBC coverage

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TEAM NEWS

Uruguay’s in-form striker Edinson Cavani is expected to miss this match with the calf injury he suffered in their win over Portugal.

Former Middlesbrough forward Cristhian Stuani is expected to be drafted in to play alongside Luis Suarez.

France coach Didier Deschamps must decide who replaces the suspended Blaise Matuidi in midfield.

Corentin Tolisso appears to be the front runner, having started their opening match against Australia.

OVERVIEW

The quarter-finals of the 2018 World Cup get underway with a fascinating clash of styles between two teams laced with world-class players. Uruguay boast the joint meanest defence along with Brazil so far, having let in just a solitary goal in four games, while France, after an insipid start, threw off the shackles in some style to eliminate Lionel Messi’s Argentina.

Uruguay’s fearsome forward duo of Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani grab many of the headlines, but going into this match only Portugal’s Pepe had managed to breach La Celeste’s defence.

There is no doubt, though, that France will pose an altogether different test, especially now that they look to have found their attacking √©lan. Kylian Mbappe’s performance in the last 16 could turn out to be a seminal moment in his career. He became the first teenager since Pele in 1958 to score twice in a World Cup match.

VIEW FROM BOTH CAMPS

Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez: “France’s strongest points are the attackers, (Antoine) Griezmann and (Kylian) Mbappe. If you let France have space it will be very difficult.”

France head coach Didier Deschamps: “I am preparing my team for if Cavani plays. If he plays or not, I will only know 90 minutes before the game.”

“They (Uruguay) have so many assets, so many qualities. They defend as a unit, they play together and they love to do that.”

LAWRO’S PREDICTION

Uruguay have struck me as being extremely difficult to beat and, whether or not it is backed up statistically, I think they have got the best defence in the competition.

France, meanwhile, have slowly got better and better since the tournament started, and then exploded into life in their win over Argentina.

I think this will be tight but I fancy Didier Deschamps’ side, who are starting to look like a really good team rather than a collection of very talented individuals.

Prediction: 0-1

Lawro’s full predictions

MATCH FACTS

Head-to-head

  • Uruguay and France are facing each other for the fourth time at a World Cup, but for the first time in the knockout stage.
  • The last two World Cup meetings have both ended 0-0 in the group stage in 2002 and 2010. Uruguay beat the French 2-1 in 1966.
  • The Uruguayans won the last encounter 1-0 in June 2013. Luis Suarez scored the winner in a friendly in Montevideo.
  • France’s only victory over Uruguay in eight previous matches was a 2-0 win in a friendly in Paris in August 1985.

Uruguay

  • Uruguay could equal a national record by winning five consecutive games at a single World Cup. The last time they won their opening four games was in 1930, which was enough to win the tournament.
  • They are aiming to make the semi-finals for a fifth time and for the second time in the last three tournaments.
  • La Celeste have won their last two quarter-finals in 1970 and 2010. Their last defeat at this stage came in 1966 when they lost 4-0 to West Germany.
  • Of Edinson Cavani’s 45 international goals, 12 have been assisted by Luis Suarez.
  • Since 1966, only Poland’s Grzegorz Lato and Andrzej Szarmach and Germany’s Michael Ballack and Miroslav Klose (both five) have combined for more World Cup goals than Cavani and Suarez’s four.
  • Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera has kept three clean sheets in four games and has made a total of 10 saves so far.

France

  • France are aiming to reach the World Cup semi-finals for the first time since 2006.
  • France progressed from four consecutive World Cup quarter-finals until losing to Germany at the 2014 tournament.
  • They are unbeaten in their last nine World Cup matches against South American sides (W5, D4), keeping a clean sheet in seven of those games.
  • Kylian Mbappe has scored three goals so far this tournament – he is the first teenager to score this many in a World Cup campaign since Pele netted six for Brazil in 1958.
  • Only Pele and Germany’s Edmund Conen (four goals in 1934) have scored more as a teenager.
  • Antoine Griezmann has scored six goals in his last five appearances in the knockout stage of major tournaments (World Cup and European Championship).
  • But he has just two goals from 12 attempts in Russia so far and both were penalties.
  • France are unbeaten in every game in which Griezmann has scored (W17, D2).

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