The first quarterfinal match of the FIFA World Cup 2018 will see to France come face to face with Uruguay in the Nizhny Novgorod Stadium,Russia. This will be one of the clashes of the tournament so far as two teams with contrasting style will meet each other for the fourth time in FIFA World Cups. The last time they faced each other was in a group stage match of FIFA World Cup 2010, held in South Africa, where they were held to a goalless draw. Interestingly they are the inform teams in the tournament so far with an unbeaten record. Uruguay has been outstanding defensively and has just let in one goal in the entire tournament. France on the other hand has been extremely dangerous with their free-flowing attacking gameplay. It will also be a reunion of a few players who ply their club football in same teams like Atletico Madrid,Juventus and Paris Saint Germain(PSG). While Antione Griezmann and Lucas Hernandez come face to face with Atletico Madrid team mates Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, Rodrigo Bentacur and Blaise Matuidi play for Juventus, Kylie Mbappe will face his PSG team mate Edinson Cavani. Let’s now quickly do a preview of France vs Uruguay quarterfinal match and find out their team news,strategies and team formations they are likely to opt for this game.
Team News- Veteran Coach Oscar Tabarez will certainly want his winning team combination to take the field on friday against France. Led by the skipper Diego Godin, the backline of Uruguay looks extremely compact and impenetrable. Jose Gimenez,Martin Caceras and Diego Laxalt alongwith goalkeeper Fernando Muslera has had a superb tournament so far only letting in one goal in four games. The young midfield quartet of Matias Vecino,Lucas Torreira,Nahitan Nandez and Rodrigo Bentacur has looked decent till now but can be vulnerable facing a more established team like France who has fast paced attackers and a very formidable midfield. Upfront Coach Tabarez will be certainly be sweating on Cavani’s fitness. In all probability Cavani will be fit to take the field alongside his striking partner Luis Suarez.
Strategy- Cocah Tabarez will stick to his 4-3-1-2 team formation against France in the quaterfinals. Till now Uruguay’s defense has taken the entire load of the team and any frailties in the midfield has been covered and nullified. But against a more robust opponent in France, Tabarez’s midfield has to be more aggressive in breaking opponents attack, drastically improve on their ball distribution and increase ball possession. They have to help the striking duo with more key passes in the final third. We have witnessed a great chemistry between Cavani and Suarez in the last encounter against Portugal where their excellent interplay has constantly pressurized and confused the opponent’s defense. Their movement off the ball in opponents box is a treat to watch.
Predicted Starting Lineups
Uruguay (4-3-1-2): Muslera; Laxalt, Godin, Gimenez, Caceras; Vecino, Torreira, Nandez ; Bentacur; Cavani, Suarez.
Team News- France has improved game after game and now looks extremely difficult to stop. They look the best team so far in the tournament and are doing extremely well in all departments of the game. Although Coach Deschamps has quite a young team at his disposal, he has transformed the team into a world beater. He likes to field a 4-2-3-1 team formation. France brushed aside Lionel Messi’s Argentina by 4-3 in the round of 16. Although they conceded 3 goals in the last game, their defense looks to have a good understanding at the back. Samuel Umtiti and Raphael Varane has looking pretty solid in central defense while Lucas Herandez and Benjamin Pavard in the full back positions have been impressive. Pavard’s attacks down the right wing is something that Uruguay has to keep a tab on. Skipper goalkeeper Hugo Lloris although brilliant overall has looked a little suspect at times between the sticks. N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba has been good,especially Kante who has been more influential in breaking up opponents play with his excellent tackling technique and positional play. Both Griezmann and Oliver Giroud had a good game against Argentina, but the limelight was stolen by the 19 year old phenomenon Kylie Mbappe. His sudden burst of speed, superb dribbling ability,excellent ball control with predatory instincts for goal makes him a well rounded striker. His runs down the middle reminds us of the Brazilian legend Ronaldo. Mbappe has scored 3 times in the tournament already and will be a strong contender going forward for the ‘Golden Boot’ award.
Strategy- French Coach Deschamp’s may have already identified the young vulnerable midfield of Uruguay and will try dominate proceedings in the center of the park from the beginning. If his team manages to nullify the source of creative passes to the Uruguayan striking duo, then half the battle is won. Paul Pogba has to take more ownership regarding the link up play in the midfield and feed the attacking third with more creative passes. France’s formidable attacking trio will surely continue their great understanding in the opponent’s box. If Uruguay tries to man mark any of the french strikers especially Mbappe,then it will create enough space for other strikers to en-cash on.
Predicted Starting Lineups
France (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Hernandez, Varane, Umtiti, Pavard; Kante, Pogba; Matuidi,Griezmann,Mbappe;Giroud.
My prediction: France 2-1 Uruguay