By 90Min
June 24, 2018

Uruguay take on World Cup hosts Russia in their final match in Group A on Monday at the Samara Arena.

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With both sides already guaranteed to progress to the knockout stages of the tournament, this game will determine which of the two countries will finish top of the group and potentially secure the easier draw in the next round.

With Russia having beaten Saudi Arabia 5-0 and Egypt 3-1, their superior goal difference means Uruguay will have to win in order to finish top of the group.


Classic Encounter


Russia 1-1 Uruguay (Friendly, 2012)

Though not a classic encounter so to speak, these sides have only met once to date - in a friendly match back in 2012. However, Uruguay did face off against the old Soviet Union several times during the 20th century.

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In the clash at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Moscow, Uruguay took the lead through star striker Luis Suarez, only to be pegged back mere moments later through a goal from half-time substitute Aleksandr Kerzhakov.

Kerzhakov almost gave underdogs Russia an unlikely win when he found the net again in the 72nd minute but the goal was chalked off for offside, meaning the sole meeting between the two countries ended in a rather drab 1-1 draw.


Key Battle


Artem Dzyuba vs. Diego Godin

Dzyuba and Godin have been two of the standout players for their respective countries so far in the tournament, meaning whoever comes out on top in their clash on Monday could decide the fate of the match.

Russia have relied heavily on the involvement of Dzyuba in their previous two matches, the striker scoring with his first touch after coming off the bench against Saudi Arabia in the opening fixture of the tournament. 

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The 29-year-old was even more influential in the following game against Egypt, with Russia playing very centrally and relying on Dzyuba to bring the likes of Denis Cheryshev into the game.

Godin is Uruguay's most experienced face in defence, also providing support in attack with his driving runs forward with the ball. The 32-year-old Atletico Madrid centre-back will have his hands full going up against Dzyuba, the powerful 6ft5in striker likely to provide a great deal of aerial threat. Godin will have faced far more multi-faceted strikers during his time in La Liga but Uruguay could still be caught out by a more blunt approach from Russia.


Team News

Uruguay will be without centre-back Jose Giminez for this match, the 23-year-old defender staying behind as he attempts to recover from a thigh muscle injury.

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As for Russia, Alan Dzagoev remains unavailable as he continues to suffer from the hamstring injury he picked up in the first half against Saudi Arabia.


Predicted Lineups


Uruguay: Muslera; Valera, Coates, Godin, Caceres; Sanchez, Vecino, Bentacur, Rodriguez; Cavani, Suarez.


Russia: Akinfeev; Fernandes, Kutepov, Ignashevich, Zhirkov; Gazinsky, Zobnin, Samedov, Golovin, Cheryshev; Dzyuba.


Prediction


Though Uruguay are surely the favourites to finish top of Group A, they will still need to be on their guard against Russia on Monday. 

The Golden Eagles have played with an uncharacteristic level of energy in their first two group games, leaving their miserable form prior to the tournament firmly in the past and staking their claim to go further in the tournament than anyone will have predicted.

However, the skill and experience of Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Godin and more should be enough to give La Celeste the edge in this tie and Uruguay will expect to come out on top in this tie.

Predicted Scoreline: Uruguay 1-0 Russia

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HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)