Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo can't be stopped by one player - Uruguay coach

Cristiano Ronaldo was lucky to stay on the pitch after an altercation with Iran’s Morteza Pouraliganji. AFP

Cristiano Ronaldo was lucky to stay on the pitch after an altercation with Iran’s Morteza Pouraliganji. AFP

Not Diego Godin. Nobody.

Godin is an expert at keeping clean sheets, as the leader of an Atletico defence that is the most formidable in the European club game - they kept 34 in all competitions last season - and of a Uruguay side that has not conceded a goal in 2018 in six games. In midfield, they have one who plays for Juventus and one for Inter.

"Everybody knows that any team in the world depends on its players, and of course we have one of the best in the world, but you can ask the Uruguay coach the same question about [Luis] Suarez, [Edinson] Cavani - you have great players in every team".

The squad is fully fit and nobody is suspended, but boss Fernando Santos has some big decisions to make.

It will be a fascinating battle at the Fisht Stadium with Ronaldo, at 33, enjoying his best World Cup but Uruguay the only side to come through the group stage in Russian Federation without conceding a goal. Tabarez had devised his successful tactical system at a time when Uruguay did not boast of quality central midfielders, but the emergence of the likes of Vecino and Bentancur has comforted the veteran manager.

The official needed no encouragement with that one, but Ronaldo made sure just in case.

The teams will meet at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday in a World Cup Round of 16 game. "It's not just in this World Cup that they have not been conceding goals".

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez: "We need to improve very quickly [from the performance against Russia], because any match in the round of 16 will be extremely hard".

Ronaldo began the tournament in spectacular fashion, with his stunning free kick completing a hat trick and snatching a 3-3 draw against Spain at Fisht Stadium. - Cristiano Ronaldo has so far failed to score a single goal for Portugal in the knockout stages of the World Cup: 424 minutes, 0 goals.

First on the agenda is France vs. Argentina, a pairing that would grace a World Cup final but will instead kick-off the round of 16.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup kicked off on June 14 and will continue until July 15, with the matches being played in 11 cities across Russian Federation. A less impressive narrow win against Saudi Arabia reduced their chance a little but they go into the knockout phase back on that 5% chance of lifting the World Cup. A win against Morocco after that improved Portugal's probability still further.

For Portugal to progress they will have to overcome what is, as of now, the best defense of any team in the tournament.

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