Kylan Mbappe showed why he is the most sought after youngster in international football when he destroyed Argentina’s ambition of a first World Cup title since Diego Maradona led the Albiceleste to the crown in Mexico in 1986.
He scored two goals, ran Argentina’s defenders ragged and generally bossed the game last Saturday that the pundits started comparing him to Brazil’s Ronaldo at his best.
On the other hand, Edinson Cavani was the destroyer in chief for Uruguay when the 2010 semifinalists defeated Portugal to berth in the last eight.
Today, the teams meet with Uruguay likely to play without injured Cavani, but the South Americans have enough arsenal in their armoury that fans would still be in for a thriller despite the PSG star’s absence.
In the Diego Godin-led rear, Mbappe will meet a different kind of defence than the Otamendi led Argentina backline he conquered on Saturday.
A place in the semifinals and a touching distance to the trophy awaits the winner of this tie, which is likely to be a stiff battle between Uruguay’s stout defence and France’s attack, which also includes Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele.
It is a fixture that would likely bring out the best in the big league players, who are veterans of such big moments.
Aside Mbappe, Griezmann and Cavani, there are also Luiz Suarez, Paul Pogba, Ngolo Kante and Jose Giminez, who can light up the match at any moment.
Cavani and Luiz Suarez have been rated among the best striking partners in this World Cup, but Suarez has been more of a creator in this competition than Cavani, who has brought a new dimension to goal scoring in Russia.
Uruguay’s Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez have the best defence record in this World Cup, and their experience of playing together for Atletico Madrid gives them an upper hand in this fixture.
Much of the pre-game talk is on how Didier Deschamps uses his exciting attackers to break the Uruguayan defence.