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Uruguay vs France: French fancied for semi-final spot

Uruguay vs France Match Preview and Predictions

France have already eliminated two South American teams from the World Cup and are hoping to make Uruguay the third in their quarter-final clash in Nizhny Novgorod.

Les Bleus were far from impressive during the group stage despite wins against Australia and Peru but came alive in the round of 16 with a thrilling 4-3 victory against Argentina to send Lionel Messi home early.

Uruguay eased through their group with a perfect record and edged past Portugal 2-1 in the previous round to leave them one more win away from repeating their run to the semi-finals in 2010.

Uruguay vs France Betting Tips

The lowdown

France highlighted why they are one of the favourites in the World Cup outright betting with their stunning victory over Argentina.

Kylian Mbappe was the star of the show with two goals - the first teenager to net a World Cup double since Pele in 1958 - and France were rampant, creating more chances (2.08xG) than any other team in the first four round-of-16 games.

"There is an excellent mentality in this group and we did everything to go further," said coach Didier Deschamps.

"I am very proud because they have been preparing for weeks and months. We couldn't miss it and we didn't."

Uruguay's progress so far has been built on their defensive displays, with Pepe's equaliser for Portugal the only goal they have conceded in Russia.

Uruguay had their own two-goal hero in Edinson Cavani but his withdrawal late on with a calf injury is a serious concern for the South Americans.

Cavani is not expected to be fit in time and trained separately from his team-mates on Thursday, but coach Oscar Tabarez refused to give an update on his condition at his pre-match press conference

"I'm not going to say anything else about Cavani because I have already given enough information and I don't want to get into games that are convenient for certain journalists who have a style I don't share," he said. "In less than 24 hours you will know who will play and who will be on the bench."

First goalscorer tips

Mbappe deservedly grabbed the headlines against Argentina but Antoine Griezmann carried the biggest goal threat in terms of expected goals, helped by his role as penalty taker.

Both players are 9/2 to open the scoring but we think Griezmann looks the better value after scoring first in two of France's four matches.

Anytime goalscorer tips

For punters looking for bigger World Cup odds, Lucas Hernandez is an interesting option to be on target for France.

Right-back Benjamin Pavard scored a stunner against Argentina and France's other full-back could now get in on the act at 25/1.

Where the game will be won or lost

Uruguay had to withstand fierce late pressure to hold on against Portugal and their defence has been impressive but the French attack will be far more threatening.

The way they struggled to keep possession in that match is a concern, with Tabarez admitting: "It was difficult because the opposition had more ball possession and were very often in our half of the pitch.

"But we have a very strong team in terms of the mindset and we will always bank on the collective against any rival."

Cavani's partnership with Luis Suarez has been vital and the PSG man enjoyed a higher xG than the rest of his team put together.

In his expected absence, France to win at 21/20 is an obvious selection for our Uruguay vs France betting tips. With Uruguay expected to offer little without Cavani, we also like the BetStars odds boost of 2/1 for France to win 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 in 90 minutes.

For the last of our Uruguay vs France predictions, another odds boost of Griezmann to score and France to win in 90 minutes at 3/1 also appeals.

Traders' Tips - View from the trading floor

This game promises to be a World Cup classic, with both teams producing impressive performances in the round of 16. Kylian Mbappe was in scintillating form against Argentina and we expect him to rise to the occasion again in Nizhny Novgorod, whilst Luis Suarez, who has had an uncharacteristically quiet World Cup, will be the focus of Uruguay's attacking output in the absence of Edinson Cavani. Both players to score in 90 minutes looks a great bet at 5/1.

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More World Cup previews here

Andrew McDermott
@a_mcdermott in World Cup