Uruguay will all but confirm their place in the World Cup last 16 with victory over Saudi Arabia on Wednesday afternoon.
The second-highest qualifying CONMEBOL nation, behind only South American giants Brazil, required a late header from Atletico Madrid defender José María Giménez to beat Egypt in their Group A opener on Friday.
Uruguay look for confidence boost ahead of Russia showdown
Following that slender victory, La Celeste will be hoping to see star forwards Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez in particular return to the form against a weak Saudi Arabia side.
Juan Antonio Pizzi’s team were on the wrong end a 5-0 scoreline in the tournament’s showpiece opener last Thursday. Despite providing some cause for encouragement early on with their neat spells of possession, the Asian outfit quickly lost its way with the defence proving porous.
That could make for another comprehensive margin of victory given Uruguay’s star names, but they will need more from the likes of Barcelona forward Suárez, who looked off the pace himself slightly against Egypt last week, missing a couple of inviting openings before Giménez’ last ditch winner.
With Russia having racked up such a significant positive goal difference during their meeting against Saudi Arabia, they'll likely top the group despite any Uruguay win after beating Egypt on Tuesday.
Chance for Pizzi’s side to redeem themselves
It would prove a huge shock should Uruguay fail to win this game, although their Asian opponents will be hoping to make that task much tougher than it was for Russia in their opening game.
The ease with which the host nation scored three second-half goals meant Saudi Arabia were the subject of some ridicule in the game’s aftermath.
However, it should be noted that The Green Falcons’ players were still fasting for Ramadan when their opening game took place. However, the Islamic holy month has now ended, and perhaps we could see a Saudi Arabia side in better physical condition against Uruguay.
Pizzi is also expected to make changes to his team, though that is not down to injuries with his squad with a fully fit one. He will be hoping his side can defy the odds by maintaining their unbeaten record against the South American favourites, recording a win and a draw in their two previous meetings.
Defeat remains likely but the Asian qualifiers can hope to restore their representation somewhat with an improved performance against a higher level of opposition.