Portugal's Ronaldo faces tough Uruguay defence

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The European champions face Uruguay at Fisht Stadium on Saturday, aiming to secure a quarterfinal meeting with either Argentina or France in Nizhny Novgorod next Friday.

Two-time winners Uruguay cruised through Group A, winning all three games, scoring five times and not conceding any, with a 3-0 win over Russian Federation securing top spot.

He also beats both, individually, in terms of passing, as Ronaldo has played 74 successful passes, the Barcelona striker has made 56 and the Cavani, 61.

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Portugal XI: Rui Patricio, Cedric, Pepe, Jose Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro, William, Adrien Silva, Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Mario, Goncalo Guedes, Cristiano Ronaldo.

One of the three Round of 16 encounters to pitch conventional footballing powerhouses against each other, the Battle of Sochi brings together the Group A winners Uruguay and Group B runners-up Portugal. "When we attack we need to be able to attack, but it doesn't come from an abstract suggestion".

"We will take him seriously, but we will not be obsessed by it".

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.

Fernando Santos is lacking another defensive-midfield force akin to Carvalho in his squad, although Joao Moutinho could return alongside Adrien Silva in the engine room after starting on the bench against Russian Federation.

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"It's not just in this World Cup that they have not been conceding goals - it has been like that for the whole of 2018". Tabarez had devised his successful tactical system at a time when Uruguay did not boast of quality central midfielders, but the emergence of the likes of Vecino and Bentancur has comforted the veteran manager. "That means he has a very strong relationship with his players".

In Godin and Jose Gimenez, Uruguay have one of the most priceless commodities in global football - a centre-back pairing which plays together week in and week out for Atletico Madrid.

Whether he can break through against Uruguay will determine Ronaldo's World Cup legacy. They have not faced each other since July 1972, when they drew 1-1 at Rio de Janeiro's Maracana stadium.

The bad one being that the South Americans would eliminate the European champions on Saturday night.

"Everybody can see that in this World Cup there are no easy games", Alves said.

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. And the Portuguese have proved adept at long-range strikes-scoring three times from outside the area-while four of the South Americans' five goals in Russian Federation have come from set pieces, per WhoScored.com. Meanwhile, three of Portugal's last four goals have come from outside the box.

All five of Uruguay's goals at the 2018 World Cup have been scored from set-pieces (3 from corners, 1 from direct free-kick and 1 from indirect free-kick).

It goes without saying that Cristiano Ronaldo will be the main man for Portugal against Uruguay.

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