Portugal got off to a winning start against Ghana in what was eventually a thriller of a match, 3-2 vs Ghana. They face a Uruguay side who drew 0-0 vs South Korea in what was a very low key match which didn’t even contain a shot on target! The match will be played at the Losail Iconic Stadium.
This evening’s tussle is a bet-builder’s dream and below, you can find the scoop on everything you need to know about xG, cards, corners, shots, shots on target and more from the sides’ World Cup qualification and group matches. You can learn more about how to get the most value from our research in my Stats Pack Guide.
Portugal are likely to be unchanged heading into this game. Their system will be a 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2 type diamond. The one point of consideration for the manager is possibly in midfield where Otávio is a candidate to be replaced by William Carvalho. Rafael Leão came off the bench to score vs Ghana but will find it hard to get into a side containing the likes of João Félix and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Uruguay are changing it up and adopting 3-4-3, with Coates coming in as cover at centre-back. There is a chance that Luis Suárez might be replaced by Edinson Cavani upfront, but we are unlikely to see centre back Ronald Araujo who is still a major fitness doubt.
Portugal average 2.27 goals per game which correlates to their xG of 2.52. They have some strong attacking weapons in their team. At the other end of the field, they have a fairly mean defence, conceding on average just 0.82 goals per 90 mins.
Portugal average 17.36 shots per 90 mins which is a high amount and have a decent enough SOT rate (7.0). Portugal only conceded an average of 2.09 SOT against per match which is quite impressive. They draw 2.91 cards per 90 mins which is unsurprising considering their high level of technique. Portugal tends to obtain several corners as well, averaging 6.18 per match.
Despite a plethora of attacking options such as Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Darwin Núñez, Uruguay only average 1.16 goals per 90 mins. At least defensively they are very solid, only conceding the exact same number 1.16 per match.
Their xG and xGA metrics are both fairly low and this isn’t a team that has been involved in many high scoring matches. They do however average 11.80 shots per game and convert that into 3.79 SOT. Uruguay rank reasonably low for corners for and against. Their discipline has been ok, only obtaining 1.68 cards per 90 mins and have drawn a total of 2.11 cards against.
Player Shots and Shots on Target
It is no surprise to see Cristiano Ronaldo lead Portugal for both shots and SOTs. He averages over 5 shots per 90 mins and has a decent SOT rate of 2.10.
Three other players, Bruno Fernandes, João Félix and Rafael Leão also average over 2 shots per 90 mins and all of them have a SOT ratio of over 50%. Portugal tends to be quite accurate shooters, so they are worth looking at in both the shots and SOT market.
Luis Suárez averages the most shots per match for Uruguay (3.08) but in general this is not a high shooting team in terms of individuals. Darwin Núñez and Edinson Cavani only average around the 2.0 mark for shots per 90 mins, whilst wide made De Arrescaeta fired in 2.30 at a SOT rate of 1.15. He did not even come off the bench in the first group game though. Uruguay failed to have a single shot on target vs South Korea and badly misfired.
Player Goals and Assists
Cristiano Ronaldo leads the way for Portugal in terms of goal scoring, netting 6 times in 10 appearances. Bruno Fernandes is second on the scoring charts with three goals, and also leads their assists with four.
The only other significant contributor in either department is playmaker Bernardo Silva who has 4 assists from 10 appearances. João Félix who often divides opinion only has one goal and zero assists, but crucially did score vs Ghana in matchday one.
Veteran Luis Suarez led the Uruguay scoring charts in qualifying, scoring 8 goals. Edinson Cavani and Darwin Núñez combined for just 3 goals between them! Giorgian de Arrascaeta was the second highest scorer for Uruguay during their qualifying campaign, contributing well from the left hand side but strangely didn’t even come off the bench in the first group game.
The leading assist provider for Uruguay in qualifying was Brian Rodriguez, but he isn’t even in this World Cup squad. Considering they played 18 qualifying games; the low amount of any individual assists is rather strange. They lack a playmaker, and this was very evident in matchday one where they offered relatively little threat.
João Cancelo and Bruno Fernandes lead Portugal in cards obtained with three each in 9 and 10 appearances respectively. They only average 1.26 and 1.13 fouls per 90 mins though and Portugal are not a team known for having high numbers of fouls.
They can be prone to picking up cards for dissent or tactical reasons. Ronaldo has 2 cards from 10 appearances but has a low foul count of 0.70. João Palhinha, who came on as a substitute in the first group game has a higher average foul count of 1.89 per 90 mins.
Striker Luis Suárez is fouled on average 2.0 times per 90 mins. He may be old and lacking pace these days but is a clever operator and will no doubt draw some fouls and potentially cards from this Portugal defence.
Nicholas de la Cruz is the most fouled Uruguay player at 3.67 per 90 mins. De la Cruz tends to play in wide midfield for Uruguay and came off the bench in the 79th minute vs South Korea.
Match-Ups to watch
João Cancelo vs Darwin Núñez
Bruno Fernandes vs Rodrigo Bentacur
Luis Suárez vs Rúben Dias
The clear standout for both Uruguay cards and fouls is Rodrigo Bentacur who picked up 6 cards in qualifying and on average produces 2.05 fouls per 90 mins. This squad is mostly ok in terms of discipline, but on the world stage there are several hotheads such as Suárez and Núñez who could lose their cool in a heated situation.
Right back Martin Caceres has four cards in 12 starts and picked up a yellow against South Korea. He only averages 0.94 fouls per 90 mins though. Uruguay only had seven total team fouls in the first group match, but it was noticeable how physical they were. They won’t be afraid to get stuck in if needed.
The three Portugal players who are magnets for drawing cards are Otávio, João Palhinha and João Félix. Per 90 mins, Otávio is fouled on average a whopping 4.80 times and the elusive Félix is often a target for the opposition drawing an average of 3.64 per match.
João Palhinha will probably come off the bench again and is another player who attracts plenty of attention, drawing 3.78 fouls per 90 mins. In the middle of the park, Bruno Fernandes gets fouled close to an average of twice per game and a midfield tussle vs Bentacur is an obvious matchup.
Match-Ups to watch
Rodrigo Bentacur vs Bruno Fernandes
Martin Caceres vs João Félix
Matías Vecino vs Otávio