The Round of 16 has thrown up some enticing clashes and this is one of the best of them. Uruguay, fresh off three solid wins in the group stage will face a Portugal side who have stuttered and stumbled to the knockout stage.
Uruguay have looked in total control, despite recording narrow victories over their first two opponents (Egypt and Saudi Arabia). Our early pick to win Group A didn’t disappoint, particularly as they made Russia look average in their 3-0 win over the hosts. Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani started slowly, but look to be combining well. There’s plenty to like about the South Americans.
Portugal on the other hand have struggled. After perhaps putting all their energy into their opening match against Spain, their 1-0 win over Morocco can only be described as fortuitous. A good Cristiano Ronaldo goal in the opening five minutes was followed by 85 minuted of Moroccan dominance – it’s quite astounding that they didn’t find the back of the net.
Ronaldo’s men then blew an opportunity to lock in top spot in Group B by allowing a late Iranian equaliser in their final match, and while some may say it is better to avoid the Russians on their home patch, Uruguay showed us that Russia simply will not match it with the big teams, with or without 11 men on the pitch.
So how do we see this one?
Uruguay certainly boast the better squad overall and are simply in better form heading into the match. However, Cristiano Ronaldo’s men will be a difficult proposition, especially considering they won their last major tournament, and there’s always a sense that European teams have the edge over South Americans when they meet on their ‘home’ turf.
We’re going to go with form and pick Uruguay, and have a feeling that both sides will score goals. Uruguay is at great value here, paying +173, while the draw is at +186 and Portugal is paying +191.
It’s certainly a tight one to call, but go for Uruguay 2-1.