Friday @ 3pm: Uruguay vs France
Story of the Tie
Uruguay have looked more and more impressive as the tournament continues but major doubts remain over the fitness of forward Edinson Cavani. Their defence has been glorious as has their attack, but the midfield has looked shaky. Even in their 3-0 demolition of Russia, their midfield was constantly overrun. The solution may be the replace Cavani with an extra midfielder leaving Suarez to lead the line himself.
France had quietly gone about their business before tearing into Argentina in the first knockout round. That game has raised confidence, especially with Deschamps having seemingly found the answer to his attacking questions in the form of Mbappé, but questions have been raised for the first time over defensive performance. The 3 goals conceded against Argentina were too much, especially as it initially appeared they had shut out the game.
What’s been said
“Everybody knows he’s a really good player, but I think we have a really good defence to control him.” – Suarez on Mbappé
“Uruguay without Cavani is not the same thing. You don’t easily replace one of the best attackers in the world. It would be a handicap for them.” – French Player Blaise Matuidi
“I had the same kind of injury and it took time, I tried to defy medical science, and it wasn’t easy. So if he plays against us, he’ll have destroyed science, so stop making us believe that he’ll play against us.” – French Player Adil Rami
France to dominate midfield and dictate the play, but Uruguay will be more than a match to repel them. Mbappé’s most impressive performances have been when he has space to break into and that won’t appear much here. The question is whether Uruguay can take advantage of their counter-attacking chances without Cavani. A big performance from Suarez is required. Uruguay to win.