Term it Europe versus South America and you won’t be wrong. France an European powerhouse, takes on Uruguay in the first quarterfinal game of 2018 with Belgium and 5-time champions Brazil doing battle two hours later.
Until their game against Portugal, Uruguay had gone three games without conceding a goal and that’s the defence France will hope to breach this afternoon. The Uruguayans are a very compact side that has mastered the art of defending and hitting on the break.
The partnership between Luis Suarez and Cavani has been one of the standouts of the tournament with five goals between them but the South Americans are sweating on the fitness on Cavani whose brace gave them victory over Portugal in the 1/16 stage.
Manager Oscar Tabarez who has led the country since 2006 has enough experience under his belt to find an effective game plan should the PSG forward fail a late fitness test for the game.
France have got the stars but a majority of them are yet to light up the tournament as people expected with Antoine Griezmann being the chief culprit.
However, Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamp can bank his hopes on teenager Kylian Mbappe who made history as the second teenager to score twice in a World Cup match.
His pace and marauding runs on the flanks were useful in the 4-3 drubbing of Argentina and his services will be needed against an ageing Uruguayan backline. Blaise Matuidi is suspended for France, meaning there could be a return for Corentin Tolisso against Uruguay.
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