By 90Min
July 05, 2018

Rest easy people - the two day football embargo is coming to an end as Uruguay and France kick off the quarter final clashes on Friday.

The quarter finals are the point in any tournament where dreams start to become a reality. The remaining eight teams in the FIFA World Cup will all fancy themselves as a potential finalist - but Uruguay vs France in the first of the four ties is a showdown between two sides playing to win.

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Recent Form and World Cup Record

France came into the tournament as one of the names tipped to win it after a strong qualifying campaign, and have shown nothing so far to suggest they won't go on and do just that - especially with the herd of heavyweights now thinned after the premature departures of Germany and Spain.

 

They were solid if not exciting in the group stage, winning their first two games to qualify with a game to spare, before fielding a weakened side to draw 0-0 with Denmark. Any concerns around their attacking prowess, however, were put to bed in their thrilling 4-3 victory over Argentina in the last 16, as Killian Mbappe spearheaded a blistering offensive display to overpower the South Americans.

Uruguay, meanwhile, were one of three sides to register a 100% group stage record, and followed it up with a deserved hard fought victory over Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal. They will hope to lean into the defensive rigidity that has seen them concede just once so far in the tournament. 


Head to Head

The head to head record between these two sides makes for some grim reading for those of a French persuasion. France haven't scored a goal against Uruguay in over 50 years, losing two and drawing four of their six encounters between 1966 and their last match in an international friendly in 2013.

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What isn't particularly encouraging is that prior to the 2013 friendly - which Uruguay won 1-0 -  the last four fixtures finished in 0-0 draws after normal time, including fixtures at the 2010 and 2002 World Cups.

But then again, England won a penalty shootout the other day, proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that all things do indeed come to an end. 


Team News

Uruguay are likely to be without Edinson Cavani after the PSG forward was brought off in the first half during their match against Portugal, but much to Uruguayan relief, Luis Suarez has been given a clean bill of health after picking up a knock in the same game.

France, meanwhile, will miss the influence of Blaise Matuidi, who was outstanding against Argentina but picked up a booking which means he will miss the quarter final showdown. Corentin Tolisso and Thomas Lemar are among the favourites to step in to replace him. 


Potential Line-ups:


Uruguay (3-5-2): Muslera; Gimenez, Godin, Caceres; Bentancur, Torreira, Vecina, Rodriguez, Laxalt; Suarez, Stuani


France (4-4-2): Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Umtiti, Hernandez; Griezmann, Kante, Pogba, Tolisso; Mbappe, Giroud


Prediction:

We're due a high scorer after two fairly cagey results, and this World Cup rarely disappoints. With France just off the back of scoring four goals against Argentina, it's likely that Luis Suarez will need to be at his goalscoring best in the absence of his partner in crime in Cavani if Uruguay are to stand a chance against the 1998 winners.

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If they can stand firm at the back, as they did against Portugal, then they stand a reasonable chance. However, should Mbappe, Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann show up to play, then it could be a long afternoon for Suarez and co.

Prediction: Uruguay 1-3 France

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