- Although Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani were born three weeks apart in 1987 and grew up six blocks from each other in Salto, a city of just 100,000 people, they never played against each other growing up. Suarez rarely returns to Salto for personal reasons.
- Suarez and Cavani are ranked first and second in all-time goals for Uruguay, and each made history by scoring in three separate World Cups as Uruguay won all three matches in the group stage in 2018.
- Portugal did just enough to get past the group stage round, with off-field controversies against Spain and Iran overshadowing their play.
- Fernando Santos predicted that with both sides so close in ability and tactics, Ronaldo would make the difference for Portugal to go through.
- Though Oscar Tabarez is in his 12th year as Uruguay manager, the stylistic difference he’s made since taking over as the national team are a lifetime’s work. He showed his wisdom in discussing why he’s not stressing over the match against Portugal, saying that you’re most venerable as a team when you think everything is going right.
- In the 2014 World Cup, Portugal were knocked out by the USMNT on goal differential in the group stage while Uruguay went out 2-0 to Colombia in the James’ show.
- Suarez and Cavani directly combined for Uruguay’s opening goal. Former Monaco sporting director Tor-Kristian Karlsen described Cavani’s style as awkward but covering a lot of ground and executing precise techniques at pace, which is apt since the ball appeared to hit Cavani in the face as much as Cavani headed the ball.
- Lucas Torreira is going to add physicality and quality to Arsenal’s midfield next season. The $35 million transfer fee already looks like a bargain.
- The ref is being very lenient as Diego Godin and Martin Caceres should have each been booked for their tactical challenges.
- Suarez acknowledges how he has perfected the art of using his backside to bump defenders. There is no striker as good at peeking over his shoulder at an onrushing defender and drawing a foul to give his team room to breathe.
- Goncalo Guedes creates many of his chances from the left side cutting into his right with space, and is wasted in the second striker role. He was moved to his preferred place to start the second half. Martin Caceres will need to be focused on his pace.
- Pepe’s goal was coming after Portugal’s tactical change.
- Fernando Muslera hits it long for Rodrigo Bentancur to pick up the second ball, who plays it to Cavani for his second goal. First, Muslera, like many of his teammates, is quietly consistent and overlooked. Secondly, it’s appropriate that Uruguay scores off incisive long balls as they have to commit less players into attack and can remain focused on defending.
- Diego Laxalt is stopping any attack from Ricardo Quaresma and Bernardo Silva coming down Portugal’s right side. Any cross he or Caceres gives up on the wings is in front of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez to clear.
- Bernardo Silva’s left foot has so much skill and creativity, yet he seems overlooked in both Manchester City and Portugal’s midfield. Is it a question of getting overshadowed by bigger names in both setups or his personality in not taking over matches when he has the ability to?
- As they showed in their second half performance against Spain, Portugal have a knack for scoring against momentum. The last minute VAR review highlights how close they were to equalizing, and no one would have been surprised considering their style.
- After scoring a hat trick in the group stage opener against Spain, Ronaldo went down with only a yellow card for his performance. But he can remain a poacher in the national team alongside Andre Silva’s physicality and Guedes’ playmaking on the wing. Santos pointed out the value of his leadership in a young team. Ronaldo will be 37 years old by the 2022 World Cup.
- If France winning a World Cup with their talented core feels inevitable, a defensive, physical side like Uruguay would gleefully trip them up depending on Cavani’s health. France will have to work to breakdown Uruguay’s defense and have the individual ability to do to. But Suarez and Cavani will test France’s defense and patience. With a potential matchup against Brazil or Belgium in the semifinals, either team will have deserved their place.
A World Cup Abstract: Uruguay 2, Portugal 1