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Portugal vs Uruguay 3-1?

Portugal will enter Monday’s Group H contest with Uruguay knowing that a victory would see them qualify for the last-16 stage of the 2022 World Cup with a game to spare.

Fernando Santos’s side recorded a 3-2 win over Ghana in their tournament opener on Thursday night, while Uruguay played out a goalless draw with South Korea earlier in the day.

Cristiano Ronaldo became the first men’s player to score in five World Cups when he found the back of the net from the penalty spot against Ghana on Thursday evening.

Portugal were 3-1 ahead in Doha until the latter stages, but Osman Bukari made it 3-2 before Inaki Williams passed up a huge chance to level in the final moments, with the Athletic Bilbao forward slipping in front of goal after he had cleverly taken the ball away from Diogo Costa inside the penalty box.

Santos’s side survived to claim a huge three points, and another victory on Monday would put them into the knockout round of the competition ahead of their final game in the section against South Korea on December 2.

A Selecao, who have not been past the last-16 stage of a World Cup since 2006, would take on the runner-up in Group G in the next round if they did finish at the top of this section, which could be Brazil, Switzerland, Cameroon or Serbia.

Uruguay and Portugal actually locked horns in the round of 16 in Russia four years ago, with the South American nation running out 2-1 winners courtesy of a double from Edinson Cavani.

The Navigators are not seen as one of the favourites to triumph in Qatar, but it would be some story if Ronaldo could captain this side to World Cup success considering how the last few weeks have unfolded for the 37-year-old.

Uruguay twice hit the woodwork in their tournament opener with South Korea on Thursday, with Diego Godin heading against the post in the first half before Federico Valverde thumped one onto the woodwork in the latter stages of what proved to be a goalless draw.

Diego Alonso’s side can neither qualify nor be eliminated on matchday two, but a poor result would certainly leave them vulnerable ahead of their final match in the section against Ghana on December 2.

Uruguay have won the World Cup on two occasions – 1930 and 1950 – while they have made a positive impression in their last three tournaments, finishing fourth in 2010, reaching the round of 16 in 2014 and progressing to the quarter-finals four years ago in Russia.

La Celeste have plenty of experience when it comes to reaching the latter stages of a World Cup, and they will still fancy their chances of progressing through this group despite only drawing their opener.

The South American nation have only ever faced Portugal on three occasions, with their last meeting, as mentioned, coming in the last-16 stage of the World Cup.

Uruguay have again turned to their experienced players in Qatar, but it remains to be seen whether the likes of Godin, Martin Caceres, Cavani and Luis Suarez can help the team navigate their way into the round of 16.

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