After a spirited Group phase the World Cup now gets down to the nitty gritty Round of 16. The rules are simple. Win and advance or lose and go home. The pressure will be enormous with the highest possible stakes. just one mistake can end a lifetime of dreams while just one brief moment of glory can turn a man into lifetime legend and hero status.
When it comes to the knockout match between Uruguay and Portugal there is already a living legend that will be taking the pitch. Cristiano Ronaldo, the world’s greatest player, will have the eyes of the globe upon him. Portugal has often been derided as a one man team. But with Ronaldo that one man is more often than not all that is needed.
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2018 FIFA World Cup Uruguay vs. Portugal
Date and Time: Saturday, June 30, 2018, 2 p.m. ET
Location: Fisht Olympic Stadium, Sochi
World Cup Betting Online Odds at BetCris: Portugal PK -110, Uruguay PK -110, Over 2 +102, Under 2 -122, Portugal +185, Uruguay +185, Draw +195
Uruguay vs. Portugal TV Coverage: FOX
Uruguay is a 25/1 shot to win the World Cup. Portugal is at 16/1 to win the championship.
Impressive Wins in Unimpressive Group
Uruguay won all three of their matches in the Group A phase of the tournament. Their first two wins were not exactly awe inspiring but they did get the job done. In their opener Uruguay defeated Egypt 1-0 in the final moments when Jose Gimenez scored on a header off a Carlos Sanchez free kick. Egypt was without their top talisman Mohamed Salah which was a big break for the Sky Blue. But to have to wait until the 89th minute to break the tie was scary. In their second match against Saudi Arabia the Sky Blue prevailed by another 1-0 score. Luis Suarez scored the only goal of the game. Suarez blew numerous scoring chances in the opener so his goal helped atone for the bad first match.
Spoiled Home Cooking
In their third match for the Group A title Uruguay posted their most impressive win by taking apart host nation Russia 3-0. That was the win that earned the respect of punters and analysts. Coach Oscar Tabarez was angry about the criticism his team faced for the first two lackluster wins stating that any World Cup win is a challenge. But against a Russian team that was undefeated and playing with momentum they provided a devastating performance.
Hat Trick Sets Tone
Ronaldo wasted no time in electrifying the world with a hat trick in Portugal’s opener which was a 3-3 draw against top favorite Spain.
He saved his best for last with the match tying goal at the 88 minute mark. If ever there was a game that validated the greatness of Ronaldo this was it. He carried Portugal to a valuable point against one of the elite teams in the field of 32.
The thrilling match against Spain seemed to cause a hangover for Portugal in their next two matches. Against Morocco the great Ronaldo scored the only goal of the game to catapult Portugal to a 1-0 win. In the third match against Iran, Portugal settled for a 1-1 draw as Ronaldo was blanked.
Portugal coach Fernando Santos has done much to improve the team and its work ethic. He was instrumental in leading Portugal to the 2016 Euro title and clinching it against a powerful host in France. This bodes well for the knockout stage ahead.
Uruguay vs. Portugal Free Picks
One cannot overestimate the importance of Ronaldo. He will be the best player on the pitch and the ultimate difference maker. Portugal has the confidence of a champion and was more competitive in a tougher group.
Uruguay vs. Portugal Pick: Bet the money line on Portugal
Uruguay vs. Portugal Score Prediction: Portugal 2, Uruguay 1
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