After sneaking past Egypt in their World Cup opener with a stoppage-time winner, Uruguay will field a veteran side containing seven players aged 31 or over against Saudi Arabia as they seek a victory that would seal their place in the last 16.
Uruguay haven't been anywhere close to their best in the competition thus far and after a rather indifferent performance in the first match agains Egypt, they have once again put a very meek show against Saudi Arabia. But despite that, they could have 6 points by the end of this match and will become the first team to enter kncokouts.
Chance: After a foul on Suarez, the Uruguayans restart play quickly and find Cavani streaking up the left side. The striker is alone for a while, but after a bit picks out Sanchez with an incredible cross to the back post, but the midfielder is unable to put his header on goal. 20 minutes of regulation time left and the score still is in favour of Uruguay.
The Saudis continuing to do what worked well for them in the second part of the first half – this time, a counterattack is cut short by an offside by Fahad. Uruguay are struggling at the moment. Now, Saudis get a free kick on the left flank. The free-kick hits one of the defenders inside the box and the danger ends once again.
Even though Uruguay had less of the ball than their adversaries in the first half, their attacks have been much more dangerous and they've been able to find space on the wings to attempt some dangerous crosses. Suarez won't mind at all that the goal was handed to him, and he'll hope that it'll be the one to boost his confidence and get him up and running in the World Cup.
Half-time: Referee blows the whistle as we head into a short break now with Uruguay leading 1-0. The Saudis did well in the half but one lapse in concentration cost them a goal. Overall, not a good outing for Uruguay so far as despite taking the lead, they haven't played well according to their own high standards.
Chance: Alshahrani receives the ball on the left side of the pitch and whips in a long cross that goes all the way to the back post, where it finds Hatan. The Saudi forward is all alone but is still unable to put the ball on goal, as it goes over the top of the net. Promising signs for the Saudis thought!
Chance: Glorious oppurtunity for Saudi Arabia to hit back in the match but they miss to put the ball into the back of the net. Hattan Sultan Bahbir came running inside the D but when he met the ball with his left foot, it sailed over the bar and the chance was gone. 30 minutes played Uruguay lead 1-0.
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With the hour mark approaching against Egypt and his side struggling to create chances, coach Oscar Tabarez removed young wingers Nahitan Nandez and Giorgian De Arrascaeta, aged 22 and 24 respectively, replacing them with hardened veterans Cristian Rodriguez, 32, and Carlos Sanchez, 33. The South Americans instantly had more strength and power down the flanks and created a string of chances before defender Jose Gimenez rose to head in an arching cross from a free kick from Sanchez to snatch all three points.
Tabarez confirmed that he will reward the evergreen wingers with starting berths against Saudi Arabia, the second lowest ranked team in the tournament who were thrashed 5-0 by Russia in their opener. "It's not about being young or experienced it's due to the needs of the team for this game, and according to my information this is the line-up which will best suit us," Tabarez told a news conference on Tuesday. Rodriguez will make his 107th appearance for Uruguay on Wednesday, prolific striker Luis Suarez will rack up a century of appearances for the national team and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera will reach 99 games. Muslera will also tie Ladislao Mazurkiewicz as the player to have made the most appearances for Uruguay at a World Cup.
Tabarez's preference for old hands Sanchez and Rodriguez, who play their football in Mexico and Uruguay respectively, may raise questions about the next generation of players in the squad, which is comprised of 10 players aged 30 or more, double the number that reached the semi-finals in 2010. But the coach said his side's wealth of experience was a strength. "I have a lot of confidence in the team I'm going to put out tomorrow, they have a lot of experience," added the 72-year-old, who has coached Uruguay since 2006. "If I've learned one thing from being at the World Cup it's that anything can happen. In South Africa, we used all of our players apart from the reserve goalkeepers. And just because I took some players off in the first game it doesn't mean their tournament is over.
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