GROUP A continues on Wednesday afternoon as Uruguay play Saudi Arabia in Rostov. Ben Levene (@BenLevene96) shares his best bets.
Uruguay v Saudi Arabia | Wednesday 20th June 2018, 16:00 | BBC
Jose Gimenez’s late header on Friday could bear great significance for Uruguay in the grand scheme of things. Getting off the mark with three points is vital, and puts La Celeste in a great position to top Group A.
Luis Suarez experienced a frustrating afternoon, but he was finding himself in dangerous positions. In a parallel universe he would have had a hatful of goals. Suarez linked-up well with his striker-partner Edinson Cavani, who can also consider himself unlucky not to notch after two wonderful long-range strikes.
The attacking duo should have too much for a Saudi Arabian side who struggled to cope with a less explosive Russian frontline.
The Green Falcons struggled to sustain attacks and looked vulnerable physically. The Uruguayan narrow midfield four should be able to impose themselves and play through with relative ease.
With little hesitation, siding with Oscar Tabarez’s team is the way to go. Uruguay -2 is a tempting 6/4 (Betfair), but I’m of the opinion that Uruguay to win both halves is the better option at 6/5 (Betfair).
After Thursday’s humiliation, surely Juan Antonio Pizzi will change things from a Saudi Arabian perspective. Perhaps they were overawed by the occasion and will play with less pressure on their shoulders this time around.
Uruguay have scored three or more goals in just two of 12 games since last June. Seven of their last 10 competitive wins have come to nil, so a goal in each period should be enough to settle a win both halves flutter.
Moreover, in five days, La Celeste face Russia, with a potential Last 16 clash taking place six or seven days after that. Tabarez may have this in mind on Wednesday, and any changes will no doubt scupper any flow.
All things considered, I’m happy to take Uruguay to win both halves, rather than the -2 handicap. Skipper Diego Godin demanded intensity throughout Friday’s fixture, and hopefully he ensures that’s the case again on Wednesday.
De Arrascaeta a danger
Cruizero creator Giorgian De Arrascaeta showed glimpses of promise against Egypt. De Arrascaeta started from the left and has two goals in 14 senior caps. He opened the scoring in Uruguay’s final warm up friendly against Uzbekistan.
Of the Uruguay midfielders to feature last Friday, he looked the most likely to produce moments in the final third. He has a better goals-to-game ratio for both club and country than any other midfielder in the Uruguay squad.
We’ve already seen Denis Cheryshev benefit from poor defending down Saudi Arabia’s right, and De Arrascaeta can do the same should he start.
De Arrascaeta has found the net 40 times in 159 matches for Cruizero, including both legs of the final of the 2018 Campeonato Mineiro. He has eight goals in 25 appearances this calendar year and looks the pick of the rest in goal markets understandably dominated by Suarez and Cavani.
De Arrascaeta is 4/1 to score in a Uruguay victory.