It was not a pretty start for the Green Falcons of Saudi Arabia last Thursday. They were dominated by the host Russians by a score of 5-nil, and they enter this second match against arguably the toughest side in all of Group A – Uruguay.
Uruguay didn’t look overly convincing in their first match-up against a depleted Egypt group playing without Mohamed Salah. They needed some last minute heroics to secure an unconvincing 1-nil victory, but should be ready for a much more complete performance this time around against the lowly Saudi Arabians.
Many eyes will be on this match to see how these sides both respond from their lackluster first games. Uruguay were seen as a big-time darkhorse to perhaps go to the semi-finals, while for the Saudis it will be interesting to see if they have the pride and ability to rebound against an even tougher opponent. Read on below for betting opportunities and a tactical preview for Saudi Arabia and Uruguay.
Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia Betting Odds:
Saudi Arabia (+1900)
Over 3 (+105)
Under 3 (-125)
Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia Pick:
The Uruguayans managed to direct 14 shots toward goal in their opening match against Egypt, and they should come close to doubling that against the porous Saudi Arabians. Uruguay are a solid offensive team, but you can bet their talented striking duo of Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez will want to both find the back of the net at the Rostov Arena.
Uruguay will win this match, and will do so in relatively comfortable fashion. After seeing the Russians net five goals against the Saudis, they’ll likely push to keep pace to make their crucial final match to top the group all the more meaningful.
On the defensive end of things, Uruguay are as solid of a group as there is. Their center back duo of Godin and Gimenez are familiar with one another from Atletico Madrid and have brought that camaraderie to the national team with ease. Saudi Arabia won’t have much attacking opportunities and even when they do, the Uruguay back-line should be able to handle it in routine fashion.
Uruguay will play an attack-minded 4-4-2 with their wing-backs and wide midfielders pushing forward regularly to best support the lethal duo of Suarez and Cavani. If you watched the Saudis atrocious defending against Russia, you can only imagine how bad it will be against a much more talented Uruguayan side. The Green Falcons’ defense was badly exposed and captain Osama Hawsawi looked awful as he tried to keep together an uncomposed back-line.
There’s also a ton of turmoil right now within the Saudi camp, with their Minister of Sports saying players who were particularly bad vs. Russia would be paying a penalty. It’s not clear what the penalty is, but so much for the whole ‘win as a team, lose as a team’ philosophy!
I can see Saudi Arabia being a lot more composed in their second match, but ultimately the talent disparity is just too high. Uruguay has a ton of skill and speed within their attack and are too solid at the back to slip up and let the Saudis have a chance. The Uruguayans will be motivated to keep in close range to Russia’s scoring record, and you can bet Luis Suarez will be eager to find the net.
A win for the Green Falcons here would involve Saudi Arabia just keeping the score-line semi-respectable. I think there are some decent betting options in this match, despite it’s lopsided nature. Uruguay to win to nil is available at around -175, and I also think Uruguay -1.5 goals at -175 is equally good value. Look for a 3-0 scoreline when all is said and done between these two sides heading in awfully different directions.