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France reach semifinal but have room to improve

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France show guile and grit to defeat Uruguay

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Match 57
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Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo can't be stopped by one player -- Uruguay coach

Kasey Keller and Ross Dyer share their predictions for France-Argentina, Uruguay-Portugal, Spain-Russia and Croatia-Denmark.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez claims his team will not "lose sleep" over Cristiano Ronaldo, despite admitting that stopping the Portugal captain is too much to ask of a single player ahead of the World Cup round-of-16 clash in Sochi.

The European champions face Uruguay at Fisht Stadium on Saturday, aiming to secure a quarterfinal meeting with either Argentina or France in Nizhny Novgorod next Friday.

And Uruguay has identified Ronaldo, with four goals so far at Russia 2018, as the biggest threat to their hopes of a place in the last eight.

But Tabarez, in charge of his fourth World Cup campaign with Uruguay, insists it is pointless to deploy one man to stop Ronaldo.

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"I believe Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best strikers in the world," Tabarez said. "In planning the match, especially focusing on the opponent and considering the level that every player has, it's all relative.

"But what he has on top of all those qualities, he's the leader of that team, and there is not one single player who can contain him.

"Not [Diego] Godin. Nobody. We are going to have to work collectively, but we don't lose sleep over this.

"We will take him seriously, but we will not be obsessed by it.

"Nine of the players on the pitch for Portugal are European champions, so that speaks of the quality, and we have been preparing for quite a while."

Cristiano Ronaldo has scored four goals in this World Cup.

Uruguay, meanwhile, go into the knockout stages aiming to win their third World Cup, and first since 1950, in Russia.

And after 12 years in charge of the team, Tabarez believes Uruguay are a contender to win the competition.

"We have worked together for 12 years towards obtaining objectives and goals, but given our limits as a football country -- people have to remember we are a nation of 3 million rather than 50 million," he said.

"We have made it to the World Cup and, in the last three matches, we have shown what we want to achieve.

"And I believe we are closer than ever to achieving our real objectives."

Uruguay star striker Luis Suarez is on the opposite end of the famed Clasico rivalry with Ronaldo's Real Madrid, but the Barcelona man told reporters that has nothing to do with Saturday's World Cup clash.

"When it comes to the rivalry with Ronaldo at club level, that's a different thing altogether," Suarez said.

"This is a World Cup, and of course we're all defending and we're all working for our national teams, and that's the essential aspect. And everybody will try and give their utmost tomorrow as to prevail."

Mark Ogden is a senior football writer for ESPN FC. Follow him @MarkOgden_

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