Former champions France and Uruguay meet in the first quarter-final of Fifa World Cup 2018 in Nizhny Novgorod on Friday, July 6.
Which of the two teams are likely to reach the semi-final
France is heading into the quarter-final on the back of a nine-match unbeaten run. The Les Blue weren't emphatic in the round-robin stages but did enough to make sure they earned a place in the knockout stages of the World Cup.
However, Didier Deschamps and his men proved doubters wrong with by knocking out Lionel Messi-led Argentina in the Round of 16 on Saturday, June 30.
France showed why they are being considered one of the tournament favourites as the attacking combination of Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, and Antoine Griezmann ably backed by Paul Pogba and N'golo Kante proved too good for Argentina.
Can Godin & Co. keep France quiet?
Mbappe was undeniably the star of their round of 16 win as the Paris Saint-Germain teenager's pace was too hot to handle for last edition's runners-up. After making some dangerous runs into the box, the hot property of world football increased his worth by scoring a double.
Mbappe will once again be key to France's chances against an Uruguayan defence that has looked rock solid so far in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Griezmann will be up against his Atletico Madrid teammates and centre-backs Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez — the duo that shut out Cristiano Ronaldo during their 2-1 win over Portugal in the Round of 16 ties on June 30.
The quarter-final is expected to be a battle between France's attacking prowess and Uruguay's strength at the backline. Notably, Godin & Co. have conceded only one goal so far in Russia — a joint-record at World Cup 2018.
Will Cavani miss the quarter-final clash?
However, Uruguay has a major injury concern at the other end of the pitch as star PSG striker Edinson Cavani is in doubt for the clash. The 31-year-old, after scoring a delightful double, strained his calf muscle and limped out during the 74th minute of their win over Portugal.
He did not train until Wednesday but returned to the training session on Thursday at Uruguay's team based in Borsky, according to Goal.com.
Nonetheless, Oscar Tabarez has kept mum when he was asked about Cavani's chances of starting against France.
"I've already said enough about Cavani. In less than 24 hours, you'll know who will play. We're not trying to pretend. We're not trying to create any doubts or rumours," the 71-year-old tactician said on the eve of the match.
If Cavani fails to get fit in time, the onus to outclass the French defence will be on Barcelona star Luis Suarez. He will face two of his club teammates in Samuel Umtiti and is likely to get a strike partner in Girona FC forward Cristhian Stuani.
Fifa World Cup 2018 live stream and global TV listings
- US: Fox Sports, fubo TV; Live stream: Fox Sports GO
- UK: ITV, Live stream: The ITV Hub
- UAE: beIN MAX 3; Live stream: beIN Sports Connect
- Singapore: StarHub TV, StarHub Go
- Australia: Optus Sport, SBS
- Bangladesh: PTV Sports, Sony ESPN
- Brazil: SporTV, Globo, Fox Sports 1 Brasil
- France: TF1, beIN Sports 1; Live stream: beIN Sports Connect