2018 WORLD CUP QUARTER-FINAL PREVIEW: Uruguay vs France

The first quarter-final of this summer’s World Cup sees both sides unbeaten in the competition heading into the fixture.

Uruguay have won all their opening four matches including a 2-1 win against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in the last 16, while France took their time to find their rhythm before blowing Argentina away in a 4-3 in what is likely to be Lionel Messi’s final ever World Cup match.

France will look to the finishing skills and the breathtaking pace of their attack to extend their nine-match unbeaten run against South American sides at the World Cup.

However, Uruguay are known to do well once they get to this stage of the competition with La Celeste reaching the semi-finals on their last six occasions they were in the last eight. They’ve only lost one quarter-final fixture – that being a 4-0 defeat to Germany in the 1966 tournament.

While Luis Suarez has been the main man for the South American side for many years now it’s undeniable that his strike-partner Edison Cavani has been just as important in Uruguay’s tremendous run.

However, the PSG striker is expected to miss out after sustaining a calf injury in the victory against Portugal.

Cavani bagged an impressive brace before being brought to sidelines in what looks to keep the 31-year-old striker out of this quarter-final fixture.

While this fixture will see no friendly antics as both team’s fight for a semi-final spot. However, the match is likely to see a reunion of two as Antoine Greizmann and Lucas Hernandez face-off against club centre-backs Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez.

While Suarez and Cavani supply the goals, Godin and Gimenez boast the best defensive record in the competition with only one goal conceded in four matches.

Even a strike-force as deadly as France’s will face it’s toughest challenge yet with arguably the best defensive partnership in the competition potentially stopping them from their first semi-final since 2006.

Paris Saint-Germain strike partners Cavani and Kylian Mbappe could also cross paths if Cavani defies the doubters and makes an appearance.

Cavani is undoubtedly the biggest blow for either side with Uruguay’s top-scorer in the competition likely to miss out after scoring twice against Portugal before limping off.

Former Middlesbrough forward Cristhian Stuani could drafted in as a replacement to play alongside Suarez.

France coach Didier Deschamps has a big decision to make in who will replace the suspended Blaise Matuidi in midfield.

Corentin Tolisso is the obvious candidate with the Bayern Munich midfielder starting ahead of Matuidi in Les Bleus’s opening fixture against Australia.

Potential line-ups

Uruguay: Fernando Muslera, Martin Caceres, Jose Maria Gimenez, Diego Godin, Diego Laxalt, Nahitan Nandez, Lucas Torreira, Matias Vecino, Rodrigo Bentancur, Luis Suarez, Cristhian Stuani.

France: Hugo Lloris, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Hernández, N’Golo Kante, Corentin Tolisso, Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud.