France started to live up to their status as one of the pre-tournament favourites with their display against Argentina, with Pogba influential in his passing and Kylian Mbappe stealing the show with some powerful and direct running, but they’re still yet to fully convince and Argentina were well below par again. Given Uruguay’s conservative approach and with so much at stake, patience will have to be the watchword for France, and indeed the last five encounters between these two since 2002 have yielded just the single goal. Prior to England’s tussle with Colombia on Tuesday, 63% of World Cup knockout matches between European and South American sides over that same period have seen fewer than three goals, with 47% seeing just one goal or less.
A narrow victory looks most likely as Uruguay’s recent good form has been built on the back of facing weaker opposition, while the French have shown greater consistency as they’re W11-D4-L1 stretching back into June last year. Each of Les Bleus’ victories at this World Cup have come by just a single goal margin, and we expect them to just about see off the Uruguayan challenge, with the 1-0 correct score of particular interest. Indeed, with Cavani set to miss out, the prospects of a French win to nil have significantly improved.
While the South Americans are going to need Suarez to play a blinder without his partner in crime, France have plenty of options going forward, though none in the same form as teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe – who now has six goals in his last seven starts for France. Griezmann may have opened the scoring in two of France’s games at this World Cup so far, both from the spot, but Uruguay are one of a limited pool of teams yet to concede a penalty, and with savvy, experienced defenders that know just about when to let go before it becomes an obvious offence, we prefer Mbappe’s greater threat from open play.