World Cup 2018: Uruguay Team, Predicted Playing XI & Starting Lineup vs Portugal
UPDATE: Uruguay lineup vs Portugal - Muslera; Caceres, Godin, Gimenez, Laxalt; Torreira, Vecino, Nandez, Bentancur; Suarez, Cavani.
The Round of 16 in the 2018 World Cup kicks off today and the second fixture sees Uruguay go up against Portugal. Uruguay comfortably finished top of their group with three wins while Portugal just about managed to squeeze through to the Round of 16 after Iran failed to beat them in a tense encounter.
On paper, Uruguay have the stronger team. They are the only side yet to concede a goal in the World Cup but they have not been seriously tested having played two minnows in Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and a second-string Russian team in their final group game.
Euro 2016 champions Portugal have struggled in this tournament but they are no pushovers. And with Cristiano Ronaldo leading the charge for the Iberian side, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez knows it is no easy task to stop the Real Madrid star.
"I believe that Ronaldo is one of the best strikers in the world," Tabarez said. "What Ronaldo has on top of these qualities is that he is the leader of that team.
"There is not a single player that contain him. We will have to work collectively to try to contain him, in order to try to limit the effect he can have."
Uruguay Team News
The good news for Tabarez is that all his players are fit and raring to go. He will be relieved that Jose Gimenez is back in contention after missing the game against Russia.
Sebastian Coates had started in his place and, had he started, Ronaldo would have relished the chance to play against him. Having Gimenez back will solidify Uruguay's defence.
Also read: Portugal's Predicted Playing XI vs Uruguay
How will Uruguay line up against Portugal?
Fernando Muslera, who recently picked up his 100th cap, will start in goal as usual. Should this game go to penalties, Uruguay will count on his experience.
Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez will start in central defence and they will count on all their La Liga experience at Atletico Madrid to stop arch-rival Ronaldo in his tracks. Martin Caceres will start at right-back while Diego Laxalt could start at left-back.
Tabarez could go with a 4-3-1-2 formation (4-4-2 without the ball) with Matias Vecino playing with Lucas Torreira and Nahitan Nandez in midfield. Torreira impressed in Uruguay's final group game - both defensively and in attack - and he could retain his spot in the starting lineup.
Rodrigo Bentancur, who is on a yellow card and one booking away from suspension, is expected to start in an attacking midfield role behind the two strikers. Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani - who have scored nearly 100 goals for Uruguay between them - will lead the attack.
Uruguay XI and Formation
Note: This article was updated after the starting lineups were announced.
Who do you think will win this game? Let us know in the comments below.