La Liga rivalries renewed as Ronaldo and Suarez take center stage in World Cup knockout tie

29 Jun, 2018 19:44
La Liga rivalries renewed as Ronaldo and Suarez take center stage in World Cup knockout tie
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Elmar Kremser, Frank Hoermann / Global Look Press

A Real Madrid versus Barcelona subplot will be a part of the narrative as Portugal and Uruguay do battle in the Fisht Stadium with a place in the World Cup quarter finals at stake.

Between them, Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez plundered 75 goals for their respective clubs last season but you can expect margins to be a whole lot tighter when they face each other with World Cup survival on the line in Sochi.

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Uruguay enter the match very much on the ascendency having won all three of their group games in the tournament so far, with none of Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia proving themselves capable of shutting the door on the South Americans’ potent attack.

Perhaps ominously for Uruguay - and the rest of the teams remaining in the tournament - Cristiano Ronaldo, the crown prince of Portuguese football, appears in top form and has arguably been the best player in the tournament thus far, though his side won just one of the their three group games.

For Portugal to progress they will have to overcome what is, as of now, the best defense of any team in the tournament. None of their Group A opponents managed to find a way past a mean Uruguayan defense, though it is worth noting that - on paper at least - their qualification group was considerably easier than that of Portugal, who conceded three goals in their opening match with Iberian rivals Spain.

The winner of Saturday’s clash will face either France or Argentina in the quarter finals and, whatever the final score ends up being, one suspects that Ronaldo or Suarez will make an indelible imprint on the game.