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Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia - Preview - World Cup 2018

Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia - 2018 World Cup

Uruguay are firm favourites to see off minnows Saudi Arabia in Rostov on Wednesday in their Group A clash, with victory enough for the South Americans to secure their spot in the Last 16. In all honesty, they couldn’t ask for an easier match, but as we’ve learned about the 2018 World Cup so far is that it doesn’t always go according to plan, especially for the big teams. 


FIFA World Cup
Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia 
Group A
Wednesday 20 June
Rostov Arena

To Win
Uruguay 2/11
Draw 52/10
Saudi Arabia 13/1


Uruguay defeated Egypt 1-0 in their World Cup opener after defender Jose Gimenez scored a header in the 89th minute. Oscar Tabarez’s men will be looking to maintain their 100 per cent record and make sure of a place in the Round of 16 with victory, regardless of how handsome.

However, the lethal duo of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani will want to take advantage of lining up against the second lowest-ranked World Cup team in Russia. Both strikers cut frustrated figures against the Egyptians, with Suarez missing a hatful of chances, while Cavani’s efforts were kept out by fine saves. However, their defensive pairing of Diego Godin and Giminez proved crucial.

Suarez and Cavani will be confident of getting on the scoresheet against the Saudis. Suarez will earn his 100th cap in this game and become the sixth Uruguayan to reach this landmark. The Barcelona star is the Sky Blues’ all-time leading goal scorer with 51; Paris Saint-Germain forward Cavani is second with 42. They've both found the net at previous World Cups, with Suarez netting five times and Cavani twice.

Tabarez’s men have lost just one of their last nine World Cup group games (W5 D3), winning five of their last six.

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Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia will look to regain a semblance of dignity against Uruguay following their opening game embarrassment. The Saudis were the whipping boys as they were hammered 5-0 by hosts Russia and that defeat extended a winless run at the World Cup stretching back to USA 1994.

Juan Antonio Pizzi’s side have failed to score in eight of their last 10 World Cup games and they didn’t have a single shot on target against Russia. The Green Falcons must win to stay alive in the tournament and they’ll be keen to prove that they are much better than what they showed in the opener.

Pizzi said on Tuesday that his team would do whatever it takes to defeat Uruguay in their World Cup group stage encounter. 

"We are critical of the result [of our encounter] with the Russian team, I take the responsibility for this.... We'll do whatever it takes to reach Uruguay's level and defeat them. It's absolutely normal that Uruguay declare that they will defeat us.... We want to show that we are... able to compete," Pizzi told journalists.

Saudi Arabia have met Uruguay twice before, both in friendly internationals. The Green Falcons won 3-2 in 2002 before a 1-1 draw in 2014.

Probable line-ups:
Uruguay: 4-4-2
Muslera; Varela, Godin, Gimenez, Caceres; Nandez, Vecino, Bentancur, De Arrascaeta; Cavani, Suarez.

Saudi Arabia: 4-4-2
Al-Maiouf; Alburayk, Os.Hawsawi, Om.Hawsawi, Al-Shahrani; Otayf, Al-Dawsari, Al-Faraj, Al-Jassam; Al-Shehri, Al-Sahlawi.

Prediction: Uruguay to Win By Three Or More Goals  (14/10)
Suarez and Cavani will fancy their chances given Saudi Arabia’s poor showing on the opening day of the tournament. The Sky Blues are tipped to pile more misery on the Saudis and I’m backing them to Win By Three Or More Goals at 14/10. If you’re not brave enough, take the Uruguayans on the (-1) Handicap at 11/20 – that’s sure to come in.

Written by Chadley Nagel

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