United Arab Emirates vs. Uruguay: 10 Bold Predictions
It's that time of the year once again. Or rather, every four years. Olympic football is back here on Bleacher Report, and action in the men's tournament kicks off on July 26. One of the matches that will take place is the United Arab Emirates vs. Uruguay at Old Trafford in Manchester.
The UAE qualified for the Olympics by finishing first in Group B at the AFC Preliminary Tournament, while Uruguay finished second in the 2011 South American Youth Championship.
Kickoff is scheduled for 5 p.m. BST. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for this Group A match.
1. No More Than Five Goals Will Be Scored
This is going to be a defensive matchup, as both teams will struggle to establish a rhythm early on. Not a lot of goals will be scored during this contest. No more than five goals will be scored in this Group A match.
2. Luis Suarez with a Brace
Liverpool's Luis Suarez scored 15 goals during his career with the Reds, but not before bagging 81 goals for Ajax of Amsterdam.
As one of Uruguay's three players over the age of 23, Suarez has the potential to be one of the most potent forwards in this tournament. Suarez will get a brace on Thursday.
3. UAE Goalkeepers Face the Uruguayan Firing Squad
Whoever UAE manager Mahdi Ali starts at goalkeeper—be it Al-Shabab's Ahmed Mahmoud or Al-Ahli's Saif Yousuf—either one will need to brace himself for a highly potent Uruguayan attack that includes Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Gaston Ramirez and Abel Hernandez.
And speaking of Cavani...
4. Edinson Cavani on the Scoresheet for Uruguay
During his long career with Napoli, Cavani recorded 66 goals in Serie A play. He is a proven striker with the ability to create space and finish his chances. Combined with Suarez, Uruguay is one of the top teams to watch in this tournament.
5. Ismail Matar Scores for the Emirates
Forward Ismail Matar of Al Wahda is one of the top scorers for the UAE national team and recorded 27 goals.
During his long career with the Abu Dhabi outfit, Matar scored 70 league goals in 146 appearances. Look for Matar to get on the scoresheet here.
6. Ahmed Khalil Scores for the UAE
A young player to watch at this tournament is forward Ahmed Khalil of the UAE.
Khalil already has 14 goals in as many appearances with the Under-23s and hails from the Dubai Al-Ahli Club. In 60 appearances with his club, Khalil scored 26 goals.
7. Under Five Saves for Martin Campana
Martin Campana of Cerro Largo is likely to start as goalkeeper for Uruguay, and he will not have to do a lot of work, but he will need to make some saves. Campana will make under five saves for Uruguay on Thursday.
During his career with Arachan which dates back to 2008, Campana made 60 appearances in goal. Campana will not get a clean sheet, but he will do just enough to give Uruguay all three points.
8. Over 20 Fouls and Three Yellows
With a lot at stake in the tournament, the tackles will be fierce, and the competition will be strong. Look for a very chippy encounter, with over 20 fouls called and over three yellows issued.
9. 1-1 Draw at Halftime
In this tight matchup, I am looking for a goal from Luis Suarez, followed by a response from Ismail Matar, to level the match by halftime.
10. Uruguay Wins an Exciting Affair
However, it will be the star power of Uruguay that sees them through. Second-half goals from Cavani and Suarez, against a late strike from Khalil, will prove to be all the difference as Uruguay gets their Olympic run off to a flying start.
Uruguay 3, United Arab Emirates 2