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Uruguay will be difficult even without Cavani, say France

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Uruguay’s players celebrate their win during the Russia 2018 World Cup round of 16 football match between Uruguay and Portugal at the Fisht Stadium in Sochi on June 30, 2018. Uruguay sent Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal crashing out of the World Cup on Saturday as a pair of stunning goals from Edinson Cavani gave the South Americans a 2-1 victory. / AFP PHOTO / Adrian DENNIS / 

Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani would be huge loss if he fails to make Friday’s World Cup quarter-final, but the team would still be difficult to beat, France midfielder Blaise Matuidi told reporters on Wednesday (June 4).

Speaking to reporters at the French training base in Istra, outside Moscow, Matuidi said it would be a handicap to the Uruguayan attack should Cavani not be fit to play, but they would still be very good defensively.

The South Americans have conceded just one goal – the joint lowest in the tournament alongside Brazil – over the course of four straight wins that have led them to the quarter-final showdown with France in Nizhny Novgorod.

Uruguay will seek to summon up all their famous defensive spirit in Friday’s match to shackle the Europeans’ lighting-fast teenage top-scorer Kylian Mbappe.

The 19-year-old Mbappe has announced himself as one of the world’s hottest talents with three goals, including two against Argentina and an amazing 70-metre sprint that ended with him winning a penalty.

As well as Mbappe, Uruguay will have another tricky French forward, Antoine Griezmann, to contend with.

That duel comes with a twist, given Griezmann’s affection for Uruguay and friendship with their two central defenders Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin – his club team mates at Atletico Madrid.

But French defender Adil Rami said he did not expect that to cloud Griezmann’s desire to help France into the semi-final, he said ahead of the squad’s training session in Istra.


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