Uruguay coasted to top spot in Group A after winning all three matches without conceding a goal. The South Americans were disappointing during their 1-0 victories over Egypt and Saudi Arabia but produced their best performance in a 3-0 victory over Russia which saw them overhaul the World Cup hosts.
Oscar Taberez's side are viewed as potential outsiders to challenge for the tournament and their display against Russia offered encouragement about their prospects. Uruguay were aided by a weak group but there is great strength down the spine of the team. Luis Suarezhas scored twice and is joined by Edinson Cavani in an attack which is potent when in the groove. Diego Godin is an exceptional defender at the back and has helped his side keep clean sheets in all three group games.
Portugal still heavily reliant on Ronaldo
Portugal were certainly not one for the neutrals two years ago as they wore down their opponents on the way to winning Euro 2016 and there are few signs Fernando Santos has adapted the gameplan at the World Cup. The side only needed one win during 90 minutes to claim the trophy in France and Portugal progressed from Group B in Russia with just one victory from three games.
Cristiano Ronaldo again looks to be carrying his team-mates and the Real Madrid forward's hat-trick earned a 3-3 draw against Spain in their opener. A 1-0 victory over Morocco was unconvincing while Portugal could only manage a 1-1 draw with Iran as they finished runners-up. A conservative gameplan continues to limit their attacking ambitions although their success two years ago underlines they should not be written off despite their uninspiring tactics.
Uruguay edging favouritism in tough betting market
Uruguay are 2.90favourites for this second round clash which is probably fair although their price indicates this is likely to be a tie of fine margins. The South Americans deserve this status based on their results in the group stage, with a 100 per cent record, although their opponents were poor. But Uruguay have lost on three of the last four occasions they have reached this stage of the competition and their stubborn opponents' qualities are enough to swerve backing them.
Portugal are slightly bigger at 3.05which simply reiterates how tightly matched these teams are viewed. The European champions have not been particularly impressive in Russia although they are still unbeaten and should not be dismissed. However their negative tactics suggest they would be happy to progress at any cost and indicate a stalemate is the best bet.
The draw is on offer at 3.00and this looks well worth backing. Portugal have already drawn twice in their three matches this summer and six of their seven games during their European triumph ended with a stalemate after 90 minutes. The onus will be on Uruguay to break them down but Portugal, who have drawn eight of their last 17 matches in major tournaments, are more than happy to win ugly even if this requires extra time or penalties.
Low-scoring draw can enhance odds
Two of Portugal's three matches have seen under 2.5 goals scored while Uruguay have produced less than two goals in two of their group games. The knockout stage is only likely to increase the caginess, particularly early on, with so much at stake so a low-scoring draw could be on the cards. Using Betfair's new Same Game Multi option, you can combine a bet on the draw and under 0.5 first-half goals at odds of 4.50.
Key Opta Stats for Uruguay v Portugal
This will be the third encounter between Uruguay and Portugal and their first at the World Cup. They haven’t faced each other since July 1972 when they drew 1-1 at Rio de Janeiro’s Maracanã stadium. Another draw is3.00.
Penalty shoot-outs excluded, Portugal have lost only one of their last 17 games at major tournaments (W8 D8). Portugal are3.05 to win.
However, they have lost their last three games in the World Cup knockout stages (1 goal scored, 5 conceded). A Uruguay win is2.90.
Since the format of the World Cup changed in 1986 to include a round of 16, Uruguay have been eliminated on three of the four occasions they’ve reached that stage, losing in 1986, 1990 and 2014, but progressing in 2010 against South Korea. Portugal are2.00 to make the quarter-finals.
Uruguay will be looking to win their opening four games at a World Cup tournament for only the second time after 1930 when they won the first ever World Cup. They are4.00 to win to nil.
Uruguay are yet to concede a single goal at the 2018 World Cup, facing just six shots on target in three games – the last South American team not to concede in their first four matches of a World Cup tournament were Brazil in 1986. Under 2.5 goals is1.50.
All five of Uruguay’s goals at the 2018 World Cup have been scored from set-pieces (3 from corners, 1 from direct free-kick and 1 from indirect free-kick). Meanwhile, three of Portugal’s last four goals have come from outside the box. Over 2.5 goals is2.94.
Luis Suarez has scored seven World Cup goals for Uruguay, second only to Oscar Miguez (8) – Suarez scored a brace against South Korea in his only previous World Cup appearance in the round of 16 back in 2010. Suarez is2.80 to score.
Cristiano Ronaldo has so far failed to score a single goal for Portugal in the knockout stages of the World Cup: 424 minutes, 0 goals. He's2.40 to break his duck.
If he plays, Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (37) will equal Bastian Schweinsteiger (38) as the player with the most appearances at World Cups + European Championships. You can back him to mark the occasion by scoring the first goal at4.20.