Published: Sat, June 30, 2018
Sport | By Joe Gonzales

Uruguay vs Portugal: Soares backs Ronaldo to see off Suarez and Cavani

Uruguay vs Portugal: Soares backs Ronaldo to see off Suarez and Cavani

There will be a lot of world-class players locking horns against each other in the round of 16 match but the spotlight will be on two undoubted global footballing icons - Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez.

For Ronaldo it is a return to the same Fisht Stadium where he scored a hat-trick against Spain earlier in the tournament, but this time he will be up against a Uruguayan defence that was alone among the 32 teams in Russian Federation in coming through the group stage without conceding a goal.

Although the Portuguese have not lost a single major tournament match since suffering a shocking 4-0 humiliation to Germany at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, La Celeste Olimpica pride itself in having kept their goal line clean for the past seven months. "That doesn't cross our minds, but if it's boring and we win.", said Uruguay's veteran coach Oscar Washington Tabarez on Friday, looking ever more frail at the age of 71. He told reporters: "They are a typical South American side".

This will be the third encounter between Portugal and Uruguay and the first one in a World Cup.

Under him they have won a Copa America and reached the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2010.

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"We have made it to the World Cup and, in the last three matches, we have shown what we want to achieve".

Gimenez and Suarez were respectively responsible for unremarkable 1-0 wins over Egypt and Saudi Arabia but the Barcelona striker and Cavani were both on target as hosts' Russian Federation were exposed to a gulf in class and a 3-0 defeat.

"I believe Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best strikers in the world", Tabarez said.

Ronaldo (four goals) and Suarez (two) both enjoyed fine group stages at the World Cup, with the victor of their meeting to face either France or Argentina.

"This is a World Cup, and of course we're all defending and we're all working for our national teams, and that's the essential aspect". "I hope my team can be as strong as Uruguay, and that Cristiano can then make the difference".

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