Portugal v Uruguay: Back La Celeste at 10/3 to steal Ronaldo's thunder

Uruguay captain Diego Godin
Uruguay captain Diego Godin can lead his club to a win over Portugal

Ronaldo may be hogging the headlines on and off the pitch, but his presence makes Portugal a weaker team says Mike Norman, and for that reason our man is opposing the Group H favourites when they face a Uruguay team that really could do with a win on Monday night...


Ronaldo gets his record as Portugal stutter to victory

There's no keeping Cristiano Ronaldo out of the headlines, on and off the pitch, during the build-up to and throughout the first week of the World Cup.

And you get the feeling that's exactly how he wants it, and undoubtedly even craves it!

Ronaldo created history on Thursday when he became the first player ever to score at five different World Cup tournaments, but you have to say - his excellent penalty aside - his overall performance wasn't the best.

Portugal too weren't at their best against Ghana in a game they edged 3-2 in a frantic second half, but given we've already witnessed the likes of Argentina, Germany and Belgium lose to lower-ranked opposition, the three points, and not the performance, is what matters most to Fernando Santos' men.

Draw a fair result for Sky Blue but more is needed

Uruguay commenced their World Cup with a slightly disappointing goalless draw with South Korea in a game that was far better than the scoreline, and stats, suggests.

South Korea failed to register a single shot on target but missed arguably the best chance of the game midway through the first half, while Uruguay could muster only one shot on target but came closest to scoring, twice hitting the woodwork.

DiegoAlonsoUruguay1280.jpg

That draw leaves Diego Alonso's men in a perilous position having to face Group H favourites Portugal next. Defeat - and even a draw - will leave them needing to beat Ghana in their final group game, so it will be interesting to see how Uruguay approach this match.

Do they go for the win, knowing that Portugal weren't exactly defensively solid against Ghana, or will Uruguay keep it very tight, be happy not to lose, and trust that they'll win their final group game should they need to?

Uruguay the bet as outsiders

Portugal have been matched at a low of 1.855/6 in the Match Odds, so they've drifted slighty since their 3-2 win over Ghana, now available to back at 2.0621/20.

Uruguay can be backed at 4.3100/30 and I think that's worth chancing for a number of reasons.

The first is that I think these two teams are a lot more evenly-matched than the odds suggest, hence Portugal being too short in my opinion, Uruguay being too big.

La Celeste have a very strong spine to their team with captain Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez forming a solid centre-back combination, the excellent duo of Rodrigo Bentancur and Federico Valverde in midfield, and Darwin Nunez and Luis Suarez in attack.

I believe Uruguay's strongest starting XI is every bit as good as Portugal's best XI.

And my other reason for wanting to be against Portugal is that man Ronaldo. He is undoubtedly one of the world's greatest ever players but almost every time he's started this season - for club and country - he's arguably weakened the team.

I thought he had a poor game against Ghana and I just sense that not all of his teammates were pleased about the amount of attention he brought to himself and his country in the build-up to the World Cup.

Ronaldo aside, the likes of Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix can hurt anyone, and I'd be worried too if the excellent Rafael Leao starts, but I fancy this to be a relatively close game, and at the odds, if any team is to pinch it I'd rather be on Uruguay.

Back Uruguay to beat Portugal @

4.3

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