Uruguay set sights on knockout qualification from 2018 FIFA World Cup Group A with a win against a rattled Saudi Arabia on Wednesday evening.

This is a do-or-die game for Saudi Arabia, who were thrashed 5-0 by hosts Russia in the tournament opener. The Green Falcons will be eliminated from the competition with a defeat in the group phase, which may well happen at the Rostov Arena.

Uruguay had a difficult start to the 2018 World Cup and were given a run for their money by Egypt. Yet, they ended up with three points, thanks to a late goal from Atletico Madrid’s young defender Jose Gimenez.

Among the positives is the defensive display from Godin and company. But the so called talented midfield consisting of Juventus youngster Rodrigo Bentancur and Inter Milan’s Matias Vecino failed to link up with the attacking front.

However, Suarez and Cavani had some decent half chances, the Barcelona star the most disappointing as he failed to test the opposition goal keeper.

Meantime, Saudi Arabia endured a nightmare start in their return to the World Cup after a 12-year hiatus. This 5-0 defeat to Russia is their second h
eaviest in the competition after the 8-0 mauling from Germany back in 2002.

It will be a herculean task for Jose Antonio Pizzi to motivate the side from here on, especially when going up against Uruguay, who has world class players in their ranks.

Uruguay Team News
Oscar Tabarez opted to start the young Rodrigo Bentancur, Giorgian De Arrascaeta and Nahitan Nandez in the midfield, however the trio struggled to impress.

It will be interesting to see if bring if Tabarez choose to bring in one from the experienced Carlos Sánchez and Cristian Rodríguez.

The back four is expected to remain the same after putting out a solid shift in the group opener, so do the striking duo or Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani.

Uruguay Predicted Starting Line-up (4-4-2)
Muslera – Caceres, Godin, Gimenez, Varela – Rodriguez, Vecino, Bentancur, Nandez – Cavani, Suarez.

Saudi Arabia Team News
The biggest worry for Juan Antonio Pizzi is the form of Mohammad Al-Sahlawi. The highest goal scorer of the national team haven’t scored over a year now and hardly got enough touches in the group opener against Russia. He could be replaced here, by either Muhannad Assiri or Fahad Al-Muwallad.

Changes in other areas are hardly expected with quality options far and few for the former Chile national team head-coach.

Saudi Arabia Predicted Starting Line-up (4-1-4-1)
Muaiouf – Al-Harbi, Omar Hawsawi, Osama Hawsawi, Al-Shahrani – Otayf – Al-Shehri, Al-Jassim, Al-Faraj, Al-Dawsari – Muhannad Assiri.

Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia Head-to-head (h2h)

The teams had met two times previously, both in international friendlies.
The latest of which happened in 2014 and teams settled for a 1-1 draw.
The first was in 2002 and Saudi Arabia defeated Uruguay in a high scoring thriller on a 3-2 margin.

Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia Prediction

Uruguay failed to find any sort of rhythm in their opening game of the competition against Egypt. But their four defenders put in whole hearted performance and it was the midfield and strikers who failed to live up to the expectations.

However, it has to be said that it was one of those off-days and a team like Saudi Arabia offer them an opportunity to get back on full-flow.

The Green Falcons on the other hands has been thoroughly disappointing and are easily the worst team seen in the tournament so far. Their defense flopped and were unable to hold on to the ball in the midfield. They are up against the best team on paper in Group A on Wednesday and could succumb to another humiliating defeat.

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