Published: Sat, June 30, 2018
Sport | By Ashley Hunter

Uruguay not just focusing on Cristiano Ronaldo

Uruguay not just focusing on Cristiano Ronaldo

In other words, it won't be Suarez vs Ronaldo when Uruguay and Portugal meet in the World Cup round of 16 on Saturday night, it'll be team against team.

Tabarez, who has coached Uruguay since 2006, has never hidden his admiration for his captain.

La Celeste's strength is based on the twin pillars of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani up front and Atletico Madrid center-back pairing Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, who must face up to a familiar foe.

Essentially a one-man team spearheaded by Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal have dazzled and baffled this summer, their fortunes revolving around the Real Madrid talisman.

The pressure received from rivals is also greater on the part of the Portuguese.

"We will mark him with the same respect we mark everyone, despite him being a superstar", said Sebastian Coates of Ronaldo.

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Both teams went unbeaten in the group stage, though late drama in Group B saw Portugal through as runners-up, while Uruguay won Group A after three wins and are yet to even concede a goal in Russian Federation. Nearly irrespective of who those wins came against, Uruguay will be on a high as one of only three teams to triumph in all their group games in Russia-Croatia and Belgium are the other two. "When he's on top of his game, he's the leader of that team", Tabarez said in his pre-match press conference on Friday.

"Nine of the players on the pitch for Portugal are European champions, so that speaks of the quality, and we have been preparing for quite a while".

Cristiano Ronaldo can equal the record as the player with the most appearances at the World Cups and European Championships if he plays in Portugal's next match against Uruguay while Ronaldo is yet to score a goal in 424 minutes for Portugal in the knockout stages of the World Cup.

"We are going to have to work collectively".

"Some of my players know them better than I do". We've shown we have the chance to win and if we keep it up this way I think we'll be successful. They were poor against Iran and I think this is where their tournament ends. Excelling in their man-management skills, they surely have the strategic know-how and they have already led their sides to continental glory; and simply an iota of sparked brilliance could decide the game today. That means he has 85 global goals, more than any other male European player in history.

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