It will be intriguing to see if the euphoria of reaching the quarter-finals is still lingering when Uruguay and Spain walk out in Bursa. It was far from an easy ride for either side in Istanbul on Tuesday in the last 16, but with Spain now the favourites for the competition, the South Americans will expect another tough night as they search for a semi-final spot.
France and Uzbekistan, on the other hand, coasted into the quarters with comparative ease, registering convincing triumphs over hosts Turkey and Greece respectively. However, the Asian side will be expecting stiff competition in the form of Les Bleuets in Rize. FIFA.com previews the upcoming games.
Uruguay and Spain meet after dramatic climaxes to their round of 16 matches as the pair's top goalscorers in Nicolas Lopez and Jese struck late to dispatch Nigeria and Mexico respectively in 2-1 victories. Spain's wobble against the CONCACAF champions will no doubt buoy Uruguay, who had been on a seemingly unrelenting rise since recovering from an opening-game defeat, only to stumble themselves a little against the ten-man Flying Eagles.
Uruguay will be confident they can do some damage when they can wrestle possession from Spain, with invention and fire-power both well represented amongst their ranks. Giorgian De Arrascaeta and Diego Laxalt have both been tough for opposition midfield and defences alike to keep a leash on, while Lopez is beginning to show the kind of form that saw him top the scoring charts at the South American Youth Championships. However, coming up against the likes of Oliver, Gerard Deulofeu, Paco Alcacer and Jese, to name just a few, they are up against arguably the most creative and clinical side left in the competition.
After their impressive dissection of the hosts on their way to the quarter-finals, France re-staked their claim to being one of the tournament favourites after a somewhat lacklustre end to the group. They come up against an Uzbekistan side who have been inconsistent so far. Impressive against New Zealand, Croatia and Greece, but taken apart by Uruguay, they will be missing the likes of Yuldashov and Rakhmanov, while the influential and injured Iskanderov represents a major loss. With Samuel Umtiti returning to the European side's line-up, it will be the biggest test thus far for the plucky central Asians.
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The new Manchester United full-back has arguably fallen short of his pre-tournament billing. While generally being solid enough to the right of Los Charruas' defence, he has maybe not shone as much as he would have liked so far. Jese of Real Madrid, who is likely to share a wing with the former Penarol defender, will represent his biggest test so far both in respect of keeping the Spaniard quiet and choosing his opportunities to support the attack.
69 – Spain's possession of 69 per cent against Mexico in the last 16 was the highest obtained by anyone in the tournament so far, but La Rojita were still behind for 72 minutes and needed Jese's deflected goal in stoppage time to take them through.
— Bahebeck Jchristophe (@JCBahebeck) July 2, 2013