7/6/2018 12:00:14 AM (GMT+3)

Mbappe in focus as France meet Uruguay in first quarterfinal

Mbappe in focus as France meet Uruguay in first quarterfinal

MOSCOW: Two different cultures and footballing philosophies will clash when Uruguay meet France in the first quarterfinal on Friday.

Both teams boasts of some exceptionally talented players, with France’s Kylian Mbappe emerging as the newest star on the horizon following his outstanding two-goal streak against Argentina.

Interestingly, France and Uruguay are unbeaten heading into this clash of former world champions. The Latin Americans have won all their games and have conceded just the one goal so far while Les Bleus knocked out Argentina in a spectacular Round of 16 clash.

France will look to the finishing skills of their forwards to extend their nine-match unbeaten run against South American sides at the World Cup, but Uruguayan belief will be buoyed by another revealing stat – on the six previous occasions La Celeste reached the last eight at the world finals, failing just once to advance.

Uruguay are intent on continuing to make history and record their fifth successive win. But it will be a difficult match and coach Oscar Tabarez is also aware of that.

“We do not know what the story will be tomorrow, but we really want to win the match,” said Tabarez.

The La Celeste are likely to use 4-4-2 formation and the only doubt in coach Tabarez’s mind is whether to start with Edinson Cavani, who has been struggling with an injury, or to play Cristhian Stuani alongside Luis Suarez, instead.

At the other end, Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps have prepared the team at their Istra base for a tactical and physical battle.

Deschamps, who won the title as captain in 1998, felt that if his team concede, it may impossible for them to get back into the game.

“It doesn’t change a thing if Cavani plays or not,” said Deschamps.

Possible line-ups

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

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