The host Russians and the pesky Uruguayans will meet on Monday morning in a pivotal match-up that will decide who tops Group A. Both teams have looked impressive through their first two matches, and the winner of this group is slated to play the runner-up in Group B. As of now, that could be Portugal or Spain – but more likely it’s the Portuguese.
Both Russia and Uruguay likely fear the prospect of playing Spain and will push hard to try and win the group – both for bragging rights and to avoid La Roja. It is worth noting that Spain and Portugal’s matches occur later in the afternoon.
Uruguay currently trails on the first tiebreaker, which is goal differential. They have been solid at the back, but the host Russians have put on an offensive show their first two matches. Read on below for a match breakdown and betting prediction as we wrap up Group A and crown a victor.
Uruguay vs. Russia Betting Odds:
Over 2 (-116)
Under 2 (-104)
Uruguay vs. Russia Pick:
Uruguay have been excellent defensively this tournament, just like all throughout their qualifying campaign. Where they have oddly struggled is in their support play to score goals. They’ve possessed the ball and had chances, but their finishing touch really hasn’t been there through two matches. In this clash, Uruguay knows they’ll likely need to push hard for a victory. Playing Spain or Portugal in the next round (assuming Iran doesn’t shock the world), is not appealing. But if you had to pick between the two sides, you’d select Portugal over the Spaniards.
Expect the Uruguayans to be out on the front foot and try to dictate the pace of play. This is a squad with solid defense, and can take chances on the attack. That is also when they’re at their best – and I’d be shocked if the Uruguayan offense didn’t cause a lot of problems for a vulnerable an ageing Russian backline. They’ve been fortunate to not get tested all that frequently in two games, but Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani are different beasts.
There is also the matter of ensuring your team is in fine form entering the Round of 16. The Russians most certainly are at their peak. They’re scoring goals in explosive fashion and their structure has been solid. For Uruguay though, they have secured results but have not been overly convincing. There’s a lot more to this group’s attack and I’d expect the players and coaching staff to ensure they get clicking before a tough knockout stage opponent.
I’d expect Uruguay to push for a full three points here. Russia is finally facing a very difficult midfield and won’t control the game there. Carlos Sanchez has been so impressive so far and should be able to stifle Denis Cheryshev and his goal-scoring ways. The central defense is sturdy with Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez, and up front I’d expect both Suarez and Cavani to find the net against a Russian back-line that is a weakness for the squad. Look for Uruguay to dampen the spirits of the host nation on Monday morning.
MY PICK = Uruguay (+158)