Simon Mail previews the final group match featuring Uruguay and Russia with the World Cup hosts bidding to secure top spot...
"Russia are available at [3.15] and on the evidence of this tournament alone their price looks on the generous side. This will be their toughest game in the group stage but their attacking game has resulted in eight goals already and will present a challenge to Uruguay."
Uruguay v Russia
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Uruguay lacking spark despite wins
Uruguay have safely booked their place in the second round of the World Cup but Oscar Taberez's side have failed to impress so far. The South Americans came into the competition as clear favourites for Group A and considered potential outsiders for the tournament although their performances have certainly yet to convince.
The South Americans left it late in their opener with an 89th minute goal from Jose Gimenez handing them a 1-0 win over Egypt. Uruguay were expected to brush aside Saudi Arabia in their second match but a dour display saw Luis Suarez's goal give them another 1-0 victory. The job has been done so far but Uruguay will need to significantly improve if they are to go much deeper in the tournament.
Russia closing in on top spot
Russia came into the tournament amid widespread pessimism among the home fans but the team have been the surprise package so far. Stanislav Cherchesov's team are ranked the lowest of any side in the World Cup but this status looks ridiculous after their opening two matches in the competition.
In the opener, Russia thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-0 and they backed this up with a 3-1 win over Egypt to clinch their place in the second round. Denis Cheryshev has been a revelation since being promoted to the side with the winger scoring three goals while Aleksandr Golovin has provided creativity in midfield. The last time Russia won their opening two games at a World Cup they reached the semi-finals, as the Soviet Union, in 1966. All of a sudden, going this far does not seem quite as fanciful as it certainly appeared pre-tournament.
Favourites may be worth swerving
Uruguay are narrow [2.68] favourites for this game but the South Americans have yet to convince. While this may have looked a gift before the tournament started, their disappointing displays coupled with their opponents' improvement means this price can easily be swerved. Uruguay have to win to top the group but they will need to lift their game to defeat the hosts.
Russia are available at [3.15] and on the evidence of this tournament alone their price looks on the generous side. This will be their toughest game in the group stage but their attacking game has resulted in eight goals already and will present a challenge to Uruguay. The hosts do not need to win this to finish first, due to their goal difference, which could be a slight negative in backing a home win.
A point will keep Russia top and the draw is around the [3.15] mark for Monday's game. Uruguay need to push for the win if they are to overhaul their opponents but the sides' attitude towards the game could determine whether the draw is a worth backing. If one team decides to rest players and rotate, with qualification secure, then it may be worth swerving them and siding with the opposition.
Russia's confidence is soaring after their dominant wins in the World Cup and the hosts look worth keeping on side. Using the Asian Handicap market, you can back the hosts off 0 at [2.16]. This will give you your money back if it ends level so it is effectively the same as draw no bet. Uruguay are favourites on reputation but their current performances do not merit it and Russia can keep their momentum going with another positive result.
Cheryshev has been one of Russia's star performers scoring in both victories. The Villarreal attacker is on offer at 7/2 to find the net in their final group game. Betfair's new Same Game Multi market enables you to combine bets in matches and a wager on Cheryshev netting in a Russia win will offer generous odds of [8.03].
Follow Simon's bets on Twitter @watfordtipster
Key Opta Stats for Uruguay v Russia
Russia have won six of their eight meetings against Uruguay (D1 L1; includes games as the Soviet Union). They are [3.05] to claim another victory.
Uruguay’s only previous win against Russia came in World Cup 1970 thanks to a 117th minute strike by Victor Esparrago. The South Americans are [2.72] to win.
Russia have lost each of their last four World Cup meetings with South American sides, scoring just once – including their 1970 World Cup loss to Uruguay. The Uruguayans are [4.2] to win to nil.
Uruguay have won their last two World Cup matches against European sides (England and Italy), having failed to win any of their previous 15 against them (W0 D6 L9). They are [1.87] in the Draw No Bet market.
Russia have scored more goals in this World Cup (8) than they had in their previous two World Cup tournaments combined (6, across 2002 and 2014). Over 2.5 goals is [2.58].
Each of the last three European host nations of a World Cup prior to 2018 have won all three of their group stage games (Germany 2006, France 1998, Italy 1990). Russia are [2.1] Draw No Bet.
Russia have a positive goal difference of +7 in their opening two World Cup matches in the 2018 tournament. All three of the previous host nations to have a +5 goal difference or more in their opening two games of that World Cup have gone on to win the tournament: France (+7) in 1998, Italy (+6) in 1934 and Uruguay (+5) in 1930. Russia are [55.0] to win the tournament.
Fernando Muslera could win his 100th cap for Uruguay in this match (currently on 99) and would become the seventh player to reach the landmark for La Celeste. He is [2.6] to keep a clean sheet.
Denis Cheryshev is Russia’s top scorer in the tournament with three goals – prior to their opener against Saudi Arabia, he had failed to find the net in 11 appearances for the national team. Cherysehv is [4.4] to score again.
Russia have had four different scorers in the tournament so far (Gazinskiy, Cheryshev, Dzyuba and Golovin) – twice as many as they did in the entire 2014 edition in Brazil. Over 3.5 goals is [5.2].
World Cup P/L
Back Russia 0 in the Asian Handicap market @ 2.16