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Preview Uruguay v Saudi Arabia

Preview Uruguay v Saudi Arabia

  • Uruguay out to reach knockout rounds for third straight edition
  • Saudi Arabia seeking first win at FIFA World Cup for 24 years
  • THE LATEST: #URUKSA LIVE BLOG updating now

Having experienced starkly contrasting fortunes in their respective 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia openers, Uruguay and Saudi Arabia return to Group A action with a potentially make-or-break meeting in Rostov.

The form book clearly favours La Celeste ahead of the first World Cup clash between the two countries. Oscar Tabarez's side may have made heavy weather of overcoming Egypt, but they showed that their competitive streak and winning mentality remain well intact. The Uruguayans can also call on superior credentials: the two-time world champions look well placed to progress to the Round of 16 for the third edition in a row.

For their part, Saudi Arabia are raring to reignite their own hopes of advancing by ending a winless run at the tournament that stretches back to USA 1994, when they beat Belgium thanks to Saeed Al-Owairan's famous solo strike. Their opening display here did not augur well, especially given Uruguay's strength, but they can take inspiration from the fact that they are unbeaten in two previous meetings with the South Americans, a pair of friendlies played in 2002 and 2014.

Team Reporter Analysis
Florencia Simoes with Uruguay Follow: Twitter Facebook
La Celeste's sub-par performance in their opener raised one question in particular: whether to continue to place the emphasis on keeping possession in the middle of the park or to revert to using holding midfielders. Coach Tabarez's actions in recent training sessions suggest that changes are on the cards for Wednesday's game, though we will have to wait and see.

Abdullah Alghazal with Saudi Arabia Follow: Twitter/Facebook
The Saudi team feel that they failed to do themselves justice in their opening match and are eager to give a better account of themselves this time around. Their aim is simple: to keep their chances of going through alive. Coach Juan Antonio Pizzi is mulling over shaking up his starting XI to shore up the defence while offering more threat on the counter-attack.

Saudi Arabia Russia 2018 portrait session
1 / 10 Saudi Arabia Russia 2018 portrait session
1 / 10 Saudi Arabia Russia 2018 portrait session
Saudi Arabia Russia 2018 portrait session
1 / 10 Saudi Arabia Portraits - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

11 Jun 2018

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 10: Hatan Bahbir of Saudi Arabia poses for a portrait during the official FIFA World Cup 2018 portrait session on June 10, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Photo by Lars Baron - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Getty Images

Saudi Arabia Portraits - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

11 Jun 2018

SAINT PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - JUNE 10: Hatan Bahbir of Saudi Arabia poses for a portrait during the official FIFA World Cup 2018 portrait session on June 10, 2018 in Saint Petersburg, Russia. Photo by Lars Baron - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

Getty Images

Saudi Arabia Portraits - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Saudi Arabia Portraits - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia