Uruguay v Russia

Uruguay v Russia Preview

This could be a phoney war come Monday afternoon when the in-form host nation tackle a Uruguay side that hasn’t impressed anyone despite winning both their games.

Since the World Cup draw was made in December it has always been likely that the Group A top dogs would run into either 2010 World Cup winners Spain or reigning European champions Portugal in the last-16.

With one game left to play in both groups, we are no closer to knowing how that will play out.

Spain and Portugal have four points apiece from two games and will target wins over Morocco and Iran respectively in their final games. If they win, it will come down to goals and they are inseparable there too.

Under 2.5 goals @ 1.51

In Group A, Russia have thumped eight goals home against Saudi Arabia and Egypt to confound the pre-tournament sceptics that suggested they would struggle, even with home advantage.

Their successes have been in total contrast to Uruguay, who recorded 1-0 wins against the same opposition and were perhaps fortunate to do so.

A late goal was needed against the Egyptians while Luis Suarez took advantage of a goalkeeping howler against the Saudis.

Suarez celebrated his 100th international cap with the match-winner and his 52nd goal for his country, but he and Edinson Cavani have not lived up to expectations so far and it could transpire to be a tight affair.

Uruguay to top Group A @ 2.20

Does top spot matter? How things will pan out in the knockouts is open to conjecture of course but, given Iran’s performance against Spain, they are no mugs and Portugal will have a scrap on their hands to get by them.

If Cristiano Ronaldo and company were to fail, then the advantage would be clear for Russia or Uruguay if they’ve topped Group A to face Iran instead of Spain in the first knockout round.

Uruguay are marginal favourites to win this game at 8/5, with Russia 19/10 and the draw priced at 39/20 – unusually low but hardly surprising in this instance.

We’ve seen so clearly that Uruguay are dogged and determined, as well as being extremely tough to break down. The draw in this game sees Russia finishing top and manager Stanislav Cherchesov may adopt a more cautious approach.

Cavani to score first or last @ 2.75

There is a steeliness about the South American nation however and in Suarez and Cavani, they have the match-winners of outstanding class. The latter in particular has been unfortunate not to score in two games so far.

Cavani can inspire his side to victory here and they are 23/4 to eke out their third straight 1-0 by down the hosts.