Uruguay take on CONCACAF foes Panama at home on Friday as they prepare for the upcoming Copa America tournament in Brazil.
Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay
Key Stat: Panama are winless in their last 13 matches, dating back to May of last year.
Expert Verdict: Panama are in an extremely awful run of form right now, and even with their hosts not looking up to the races in recent times, it's hard to see how they will be able to hold up against the pressure of them. Panama did get a nice result in holding Brazil to a draw, but they will be found out here and prove to the world that it was a one-off and a fluke of sorts.
Oscar Tabarez, 101-48-55 overall as boss, has left out the likes of defender Gaston Silva and midfielder Carlos Sanchez. There are no major surprises or injuries that he has to deal with.
You can’t talk about Uruguay without mentioning Luis Suarez, the brilliant and charismatic villain of world football. The Barcelona man has some making up to do in order to remind the world what he is capable of, and he can start getting his footing here by adding to the 55 goals he’s already racked up. In midfield, Seattle Sounders man Nicolas Lodeiro is one to watch. He’s not widely known, at least anymore, but his passing range is extreme and could help them unlock a stubborn foe.
Uruguay have two wins and three losses in their last five matches:
0-4 win at Thailand
3-0 home win vs Uzbekistan
1-0 loss at France
1-0 loss at Brazil
4-3 loss at Japan
Defenders:Caceres, Gimenez, Godin, Laxalt
Midfielders:Nandez, Vecino, Bentancur, Lodeiro
Interim boss Julio Dely Valdes has left out quite a number of players for this match, including goalkeeper Luis Mejia, center back Roman Torres, midfielder Anibal Godoy, and striker Ricardo Buitrago. Midfielder Edgar Barcenas misses out through an injury.
While it’s tough to see them getting much joy going forward, there is always a chance and they are not the worst team in the world. Especially when Gabriel Torres is leading the line. The Universidad de Chile man has scored 15 goals across 79 appearances and will keep Uruguay on their toes. In the midfielder, captain Armando Cooper is of vital importance. He’s played over 100 times for his nation and has been through all kinds of tournaments and situations and can help his side cope with the pressure here.
Panama have two draws and three losses in their last five matches:
1-1 draw at Brazil
3-0 loss at USA
1-2 home loss vs Ecuador
1-0 loss at Honduras
2-2 draw at South Korea
Defenders:Vargas, Blackman, Cummings, Escobar, Davis
Midfielders:Sanchez, Cooper, Pimental, Rodriguez
The lone meeting between these sides came back in 2015 when Uruguay went to Panama and won 1-0.
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Uruguay are at 1/8 to win, a draw is at 6/1, and a Panama win is at 11/1.
Uruguay have had a roller coaster sort of year. In Russia, they won all three group matches to make it to the quarterfinals, but they were then swatted aside by France, the eventual winners of the competition. Since then, they have lost four of their last seven, meaning that they have eight wins and five losses overall. This match with Panama comes nine days ahead of the Copa America, in which they will encounter Ecuador, Japan, and Chile in the group.
Panama also made it to the World Cup last summer in Russia, but they were largely there to round out the numbers, taking thumpings left and right from all three sides they faced. Despite the honor of playing at the World Cup, they had a miserable year that included just two draws to go along with nine losses. One of those was against Brazil, though, so this is not a team you can just write off. Like Uruguay, they have some work to do, as they are getting ready for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. They will be facing Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana, and the USA in the group in that competition.
Betfair have no for both sides scoring at 1.65.
They also have 2-0 exactly at 6.0 odds.
Uruguay come into this match having lost a lot of matches to teams that are around their level recently. While you never want to lose, those matches did come against quality foes, of which are far better than Panama, meaning the hosts should take it comfortably.