Good evening all and thanks for joining us as the 2018 World Cup in Russia moves into the business end of proceedings, crunch time if you like... Uruguay take on Portugal at the Fisht Olympic Stadium tonight with the victor booking a quarter-final clash with France, who moved into the last eight earlier today with victory over Argentina.
As expected, Uruguay boss Oscar Tabarez makes just the one change here as Jose Gimenez comes back into defence alongside fellow Atletico Madrid teammate Diego Godin. Martín Caceres and Diego Laxalt feature as the full-backs, while Fernando Muslera is in between the sticks.
The South Americans will be operating with a 4-4-2 that sees both Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez leading the line. Further creative support is to come from a four-man midfield consisting of Lucas Torreira, Nahitan Nandez, Matias Vecino and Rodrigo Bentancur.
The Portuguese have gone with the same formation which will be led by Cristiano Ronaldo and Goncalo Guedes in attack. Further back in the middle, Adrien Silva will be aiming to pull the strings with support from wide men Bernardo Silva and Joao Mario. William has also passed a late fitness test and will be hoping to be the anchor in the centre.
At the back, Raphael Guerreiro is back in the side after returning from injury, while Ricardo Pereira features at right-back. Jose Fonte and Pepe occupy the heart of defence, leaving Rui Patricio in goal.
Portugal come into the last 16 of the tournament having been dealt the trickier of the two ties from Group B's qualification spots. Spain ended up topping the group despite drawing against Morocco, while conceding in the last minute against Iran meant that Portugal now face a tough task to get beyond Uruguay this evening.
The veteran forward will be hoping to rescue his record in the knockout stages of this tournament, though. Ronaldo has failed to score a single goal for Portugal in the knockout stages of the World Cup. That equates to 424 minutes without a goal in the business end of the tournament.
Having said that, Ronaldo was outstanding against Spain when he last played at Sochi's Fisht Stadium. That game came as the group opener in which the striker scored a standout hat-trick, inclusive of a late free kick, to see Portugal snatch a point against Iberian rivals Spain.
Another crucial figurehead this evening could be the manager. Santos is appearing in his fourth major tournament in a row and has managed to reach the knockouts every time. Tonight sees a match-up between two vastly experienced coaches on the international stage.
When managing Greece, Santos reached the Euro 2012 quarter-finals and World Cup 2014 last 16, while as Portugal boss he led his side to Euro 2016 glory and now finds himself in the last 16 here in Russia.
Clearly Ronaldo will be key here, with much of this functional Portugal side being built around the forward's skillset. Here's a highlights package featuring the Real Madrid man working his magic to thwart Spain during the group stages:
Coming onto Uruguay, the South Americans made light work of one of the easier groups in the tournament. The two-time winners did not concede a single goal throughout Group A, scoring five in three games to win the berth with consummate ease.
Uruguay were not particularly destructive in 1-0 wins over both Egypt and Saudi Arabia, but Tabarez's side did look menacing in a comfortable 3-0 victory over hosts Russia that saw his charges seal top spot.
Since the introduction of the round of 16 at the World Cup in 1986, Uruguay have faltered at this stage on three of the four occasions. Those defeats came in the 1986, 1990 and 2014 editions, although they did progress in 2010 against South Korea.
Uruguay have been impressive at the back despite having faced some poor opposition. The nation are yet to concede in Russia and have faced just six shots on target in three group games. The last country to go four games without conceding a goal in the World Cup was Brazil in Mexico '86.
Suarez is slowly growing into the tournament following his winner against Saudi Arabia. The forward is Uruguay's second top scorer in World Cups with seven goals, just one behind legendary striker Oscar Miguez.
One point of interest this evening will be seeing just how Uruguay go about creating chances in the final third. So far all five of Uruguay's goals in Russia have come courtesy of differing set-pieces. Three have come from corners, while the other two were a result of direct and indirect free kicks.
This contest pits two long-serving managers against each other and we should be in for an insightful tactical battle between the two coaches. Tabarez is one of the longest-serving international managers around and is the longest-serving coach now left competing in Russia.
PREDICTION: We should be in for a real scrap in Sochi, especially with the likes of Gimenez, Godin and Pepe involved in proceedings. Uruguay have some fantastic quality in the final third in the shape of Cavani and Suarez, but you do have to question the South American's build-up play so far in the tournament. Portugal have not been the most progressive side either, but the Iberians have a man in Ronaldo who can win a contest in a flash. I'm expecting a tight, industrious dogfight with the Portuguese to snatch this game by a slender 2-1 margin with extra-time possibly being required.
Speaking in the build-up to the match, Santos too has been speaking of the potentially brutal nature of the game:
"They are a typical South American side. It's not just in this World Cup that they have not been conceding goals - it has been like that for the whole of 2018. Oscar Tabarez is the longest-serving international manager. That means he has a very strong relationship with his players."
Uruguay coach Tabarez has been quick to suggest that his side still have plenty of work today after a fairly easy group stage:
"We need to improve very quickly [from the performance against Russia], because any match in the round of 16 will be extremely difficult. For me the holy grail of football is the word 'balance'. When we attack we need to be able to attack, but it doesn't come from an abstract suggestion."
It's been an energetic start as expected, with Uruguay pressing with real intent and urgency early on. Mario does well for Portugal driving out on the left, where he sticks a cross up to the back post for Bernardo. The Manchester City midfielder gets his head on the ball, but loops an effort over the bar.
SHOT! Guess who? The ball is threaded into the feet of Bernardo on the right side, who then sets the ball dead for Ronaldo in the centre. The forward winds up from range, only to drive his first shot of the match straight into the grateful arms of Muslera.
My oh my... Take a bow Cavani - this is a goal of real beauty. The towering frontman drops short to receive the ball before switching a wonderful ball across field into the path of Suarez on left wing. The Barcelona man cuts inside on his right to pick a ball in towards the back post, where Cavani arrives to steer a header into the back of the net.
CHANCE! The Iberians stretch the play out on the right wing where Bernardo turns a cross to the back post, leaving Fonte to jump above Ricardo only to send his header wide of the far post. He should have done better with that...
Uruguay are built to defend this lead and they'll be doing their utmost to frustrate Portugal at every turn. Cavani steels the ball just outside of the area and is able to feed Suarez, whose shot is deflected away for a corner despite the difficult angle.
Godin is a real handful on corners and Pepe has to do exceptionally again to put the defender off his header from the resulting set-piece. The Uruguay centre-back does get his head to it, although Pepe does just about enough to put him off finding the target.
Portugal find themselves with possession on the edge of the area, where Ronaldo lays the ball off into the feet of Guedes. The youngster shapes to shoot from the edge of the box, but cannons an effort straight into the frame of Gimenez.
Bernardo is doing his utmost to stretch the game on the right and he is able to find Ricardo on the overlap. The young full-back drives a cross towards the near post, although Muslera always seems to have it covered despite the lingering presence of Ronaldo.
Uruguay are camped deep now as Portugal apply some encouraging pressure. Guedes finds some room inside the box on the right, chipping a cross into the middle. Ronaldo is in the queue to head home, before Godin rises first to head clear.
Suarez looks menacing already. The diminutive forward drives at the heart of the Portugal defence, causing Fonte to drag him down on the edge of the box. This is in a promising position 25 yards out from goal...
SAVE! Suarez stands over the ball and whips a bending effort down low under the wall towards the bottom-left corner. Patricio sees the ball late but still makes a strong save to palm the ball away from goal.
Guedes can be a little frustrating at times. Mario bends a ball into the box for the youngster, who cannot quite bring it under control with Gimenez applying pressure. Portugal have responded well to going behind, but nothing much to speak of in the creative department.
Bernardo works the ball into the box from the right side but the delivery flashes past everybody inside the area as Uruguay are dealt a slight reprieve. Portugal do look more of a threat than against Iran, at least...
Nandez has been a pain when pulling out wide on the right for Uruguay. The midfielder's run drags the Portuguese defence across the pitch, although Guerreiro is quickly in to dispossess him with a smart sliding tackle.
You will not see much better energy than this. Caceres is all over Guerreiro and eventually manages to make the Portuguese left-back run the ball out for a throw after some seemingly endless hassling on the wing. Uruguay looking well set with the lead.
Portugal are moving the ball with plenty of endeavour, you can already see that we're into the business end of the tournament. No time being wasted by the Iberians whatsoever. Uruguay continue to stand firm, though, with the South Americans sitting in compact units in front of the box.
Caceres has provided some standout cover on the right, this time the full-back is across to cut out a cross from Guerreiro, who has disappointed despite being in some positive positions to deliver out wide.
Same old story for Portugal at the moment, positive in the build-up before the intent breaks down just on the edge of the area. Guedes is up for a header with Godin, leaving the ball to balloon up comfortably into the arms of Muslera.
Applause rings out around the ground for Cavani, who tracks all the way back towards his own box to steal possession off William. You cannot fault the industry in this team. Uruguay look in good shape to produce a clean sheet based on this first-half evidence.
So Uruguay take a deserved lead into half time after an industrious half of football in Sochi. The South Americans flew out of the traps with some smart pressing, before a piece of brilliance saw Portugal undone.
The Iberians have responded well, though, but have been unable to create much of note in front of goal. Portugal have showed plenty of endeavour and enterprise only to lack the final pass to unlock the South American defence. That said, Uruguay have been outstanding at the back and Tabarez clearly has a wonderfully-drilled side at his disposal. Uruguay appear in strong shape for the quarters at half time.
Tabarez will likely want simply more of the same in the second half, hoping that his side can then catch Portugal cold as they come forward. Uruguay have been absolutely exceptional in defence after taking the lead.
Santos may have to look to the likes of Ricardo Quaresma, Bruno Fernandes or Andre Silva at some point should his current 11 not be able to find a way back into the game. Portugal are just a single goal away from forcing extra-time, remember, so they are not needing to rush too much just yet. Ronaldo often finds a way of producing the goods and he now has a major job on his hands after the interval.
Portugal are starting to move the ball a little quicker and that will be welcomed by Ronaldo. Ricardo moves into space on the right and drives in a cross towards the forward, but Godin is perfectly placed to send the ball clear of danger.
Ouch! Portugal catch Uruguay sleeping at a corner and Tabarez will be livid. A short corner sees Guerreiro whip a smart ball into the middle, which sees Pepe move in unmarked to send a powerful header past a helpless Muslera. Game on.
They are back in front! Uruguay press forward with a quick counter and Nandez is fed the ball on the edge of the box. The midfielder gets his head up to see Cavani peeling away wide at the back post. The pass is perfectly weighted, allowing the striker to open up his body and curl a beautiful finish first time beyond the grasp of Rui Patricio. A truly stunning goal from Cavani. You will not see many better at this tournament.
Portugal need to get back at it now, they can't let their energy slip despite going behind again. That goal conceded by Uruguay was their first of the tournament and their first of this calendar year! They do not concede many...
CHANCE! Almost for Portugal... Muslera comes off his line when he shouldn't and he spills the ball into the path of Bernardo. The Portugal winger has to adjust his feet quickly and can only drive his effort over the crossbar with the keeper stranded. It should be 2-2, really.
And still Portugal find themselves pushing but to no avail. Uruguay have dropped off in the second half, but their defending has still been top-notch. Portugal cannot find a way through despite the numbers they have forward.
It's a Portuguese overland at the moment but the Iberians just cannot find the required quality to find the final pass to make the difference. Godin does well to hold off the run of Ricardo on the right. Applause rings out around the ground. Uruguay are edging closer.
Rodriguez uses his brain to win a cheap corner up the pitch in order to give his side a defensive breather. The South Americans need every trick in the book now. They are edging ever closer to the last eight.
YELLOW CARD! Quaresma goes down and it should be a crucial free kick at the death. Ronaldo then gets booked for remonstrating with the referee, who does appear to actually have got this one wrong. Uruguay are on the verge here...
Well there we have it, Ronaldo and Messi eliminated on the same day. Uruguay were simply brilliant at the back and two pieces of standout quality from Cavani have ultimately been the difference. The South Americans will now face France in the quarter-finals next Friday. Make sure you join us for live coverage of every other last-16 clash going forward. That's going to be all from me tonight, thanks for sticking with me!