Friday’s international friendly action sees Uruguay hosting Uzbekistan. The Uruguayans will be look to record victory in their first, and only, friendly prior to the World Cup.
La Celeste head to Russia as one of the tournament’s real dark horses, having impressively qualified from a notoriously tricky South American section in second place, as well as having impressed in friendlies contested since.
In March’s China Cup action. Oscar Tabarez’s troops comfortably beat the Czech Republic and Wales 2-0 and 1-0 respectively. Said results mean the side have now kept clean sheets in 4 of their last 6 matches, mainly thanks to the Atletico Madrid centre back pairing of Jose Maria Gimenez and Diego Godin, and with a promising crop of midfielders as well as Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani in attack, the Uruguayans really have no glaring weaknesses and look a well balanced, cohesive unit capable of challenging most nations.
Looking to spoil Uruguay’s send-off is Uzbekistan, ranked 88th in the world, some 71 places below their hosts for the evening. As an independent state, The White Wolves have never qualified for a World Cup and didn’t really come any closer in their efforts to make Russia, missing out on a play-off spot to Syria after a 4th placed group finish.
Uzbekistan lost 4 of their 5 away games in that qualifying sector and are typically far stronger on their own patch than on the road. All in all, Timur Kapadze’s troops have not won since September 2016 on their travels, losing 7 of their last 8 away games since, leaving confidence low coming into this clash.
Having also failed to score in 6 of said trips, against weaker sides than Uruguay, it becomes clear that the bet that really stands out here is for the hosts to win to nil, given their own defensive strength and that’s exactly where our money is going.
Nonetheless, we don’t expect it to be a complete rout and therefore we’re also backing a Uruguay win with under 3.5 goals as well as said victory being by a 2-0 margin. As poor as they are on the road, Uzbekistan have not conceded more than twice in an away game since the middle of 2015, with all of their recent defeats coming by tight margins, something which looks highly likely to be repeated in this fixture.
Uruguay possible starting XI: Muslera; Varela, Godin, Gimenez, Silva; Nandez, Bentancur, Vecino; de Arrascaeta; Suarez, Cavani.
Uzbekistan possible starting XI: Ergashev; Ashurmatov, Komilov, Agzamov, Otaxonov; Khamrobekov, Ganiev, Aliboyev, Ghiyosov; Urinboev, Abdixolikov.
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This will be the first ever meeting between the two.
A fully fit squad is available. The only real doubt in the starting line-up is which one of Cristian Rodríguez or Giorgian de Arrascaeta will start in an attacking midfield role.
Boss Timur Kapadze has called up a full squad for the clash and has plenty of men to pick from.