Ronaldo can’t beat Uruguay on his own - Portugal 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

It promises to be an intriguing match-up between two of the tournament dark horses.

The battle at the other end of the pitch will be just as engaging. "Having the support of my teammates helps, speaking to the coach is important too", he added, sitting alongside Oscar Tabarez at Friday's eve-of-game press conference.

Here's everything you need know ahead of this one. We have to be strong as a team as strong as Uruguay are as a team. It is hard to envisage Suarez, Godin, Pepe, Ricardo Quaresma and Edinson Cavani making it to Qatar in 2022 - although Ronaldo's attempt to be a footballing Peter Pan ensures his presence can not be ruled out at age 37.

They had previously edged out Morocco 1-0 after opening their campaign with a thrilling 3-3 draw against local rivals Spain.

Alves claims that "there are no easy games" in the World Cup, but the 36-year-old says that Portugal are exclusively concentrating on what they can achieve at this summer's competition. He now has seven to Miguez's eight.

Uruguay were the only team at this year's World Cup to win their group without conceding a goal. "You can't turn your back on your collective DNA", he said before the tournament, where they won their three games to finish top of Group A.

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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And realise it's the original Avengers that are left", he said. "I think my suit is so cool". It becomes tragic and it becomes somebody who just wants to stop hurting.

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. Portugal beat England in 2006; Uruguay beat Ghana in 2010.

Iran then gained an injury-time penalty after a handball by Cedric Soares, with the spot-kick given via the video assistant referee, and Karim Ansarifard converted it to drop Portugal from first to second in the group. Only Nizhny Novgorod has offered greater entertainment.

Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez. That could mean recalls for Guillermo Varela, Martin Caceres and Cristian Rodriguez, but Nahitan Nandez may have done enough to keep his place. Uruguay is the only team that didn't concede a goal in the first round - in a group containing Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Midfielder Rodrigo Bentacur is the man who would miss a potential quarter-final if cautioned.

One is whether to start Andre Silva or Goncalo Guedes up front alongside Ronaldo?

There has been little love lost when they have met: Ronaldo once punched Godin during a Spanish Super Cup tie, but the defender got his own back in a meeting previous year by elbowing the Portuguese in the head.

The squad is fully fit and nobody is suspended, but boss Fernando Santos has some big decisions to make. There are six Portugal players who are one yellow card away from suspension, including Cristiano Ronaldo.

The victor of this fixture will go on to meet the winner of France and Argentina's encounter in Saturday's other round-of-16 matchup, as the tougher-looking side of the bracket gets up and running. "It doesn't get any better". That momentum could prove decisive on Saturday. "He earned the captaincy for his achievements and his commitment and his example, and in a certain way he represents the very best of a nation like Uruguay".

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