30 June, 2018
"They are a typical South American side", said Portugal coach Fernando Santos. Oscar Tabarez is the longest-serving worldwide manager.
Sure to be stalking him around the pitch will be the ice cold Diego Godin.
Ahead of their return to the Black Sea coast, the more prosaic feel that ran throughout their slow march to Euro 2016 glory has returned, with Ronaldo giving Portugal an early lead it hung on to against Morocco before Ricardo Quaresma's sublime strike illuminated a VAR-fueled 1-1 draw with Iran.
Uruguay star striker Luis Suarez is on the opposite end of the famed Clasico rivalry with Ronaldo's Real Madrid, but the Barcelona man told reporters that has nothing to do with Saturday's World Cup clash.
"But what he has on top of all those qualities, he's the leader of that team, and there is not one single player who can contain him".
Russian referee Valentin Ivanov issued a World Cup record four red cards and 16 yellows, setting a new high for an global tournament overseen by Federation Internationale de Football Association.
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Godin, battle-hardened after years of working under Atletico coach Diego Simeone, has always been unapologetic about his country's uncompromising style. Portugal are so far unbeaten in their two previous meetings (W1 D1).
Uruguay, meanwhile, go into the knockout stages aiming to win their third World Cup, and first since 1950, in Russian Federation.
Uruguay will be looking to win their opening four games at a World Cup tournament for only the second time after 1930 when they won the first ever World Cup. However, they have lost their last three games in the World Cup knockout stages (one goal scored, five conceded).
It was thanks to his header that Uruguay beat Italy 1-0 in their decisive group game in Brazil to reach the last 16 of the last World Cup and even though they fell to Colombia in the next round, the memory of the goal lives on.
All five of Uruguay's goals at the 2018 World Cup have been scored from set-pieces (three from corners, one from a direct free-kick and one from an indirect free-kick). However, he did score a hat-trick against Spain in his previous game at Sochi's Fisht Stadium.
If he plays, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo (37) will equal Bastian Schweinsteiger (38) as the player with the most appearances at World Cups + European Championships.
Fernando Santos does not have any fresh injury concerns to contend with. If Ronaldo is at his very best for Portugal then Uruguay could be in trouble, but that's a big if - he's been distinctly average since the hat-trick against Spain. I think this will be the case in this game.