Uruguay vs Portugal Preview: La Celeste looking to upset Ronaldo and co. in Sochi

Uruguay vs Portugal Preview: La Celeste looking to upset Ronaldo and co. in Sochi

Oscar Tabarez and his men will aim to produce yet another solid display against a Portugal side that is not too dissimilar to them.

Ninad Barbadikar

havhavUruguay take on Portugal in the first of several big-name round of 16 clashes in the coming days.

The South Americans have been unbeatable at the back thus far and will face their iron test when they come up against the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Bernardo Silva.

Oscar Tabarez has been at the helm long enough to have the experience for these big games, he will look to recreate the stellar run they had in South Africa, eight years ago.

As for Fernando Santos, he has a huge task on his hands as compared to winning the Euros if his side is to create history at the World Cup in Russia.

Both sides know each other all too well

It will be an interesting sight to see how both defences cope with each other's attacking prowess.

On one hand, Uruguay are equipped with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, both strikers who are well-known for their goal-scoring exploits, while the former is leading his country now in Russia.

Captain Diego Godin has had a brilliant tournament thus far, commanding the defence from the back and being the voice of calm for the team. He will have his hands full when he comes up against Ronaldo again.

Former Real Madrid defender Pepe will look forward to the prospect of facing Suarez, both players are aggressive and will look to gain the upper hand in every situation. While both players have a tendency for the extreme, they will need to retain composure in key moments for their teams.

Portugal will need to tighten up

During the group stages, Portugal opened their campaign with a brilliant display against Spain, which was an entertaining 3-3 draw. However, they will need to be a lot more solid now.

Jose Fonte will need to step up his game against the likes of Cavani and Suarez. Portugal's defence is an aging one and could be caught on the counter if they're not careful.

They will need all their experience to neutralize the threats that Uruguay possesses. 

Tabarez lacks a Forlan like presence

Eight years ago, one of the major reasons for Uruguay's success was the presence of Diego Forlan in the team.
Forlan was the creative spark in the side back then, who also complemented Suarez and Cavani very well. However, now it is up to the duo to figure out a way to work together, which they haven't exactly done so far.
Tabarez has given chances to youngsters during the group stage, which was an encouraging sight. The likes of Diego Laxalt, Nahitan Nandez have  added a real dynamism to the side in terms of pace and the direct nature of their attack.
It will certainly be a clash of titans when the two teams meet at the Fisht stadium, either side that comes through has a bigger challenge coming ahead as they could face either France or Argentina.