Uruguay vs France – Suarez could leave Les Bleus red-faced
Uruguay vs France, kick-off Friday 7.30pm
The most surprising omission from Uruguay’s starting XI to face France is Napoli midfielder Walter Gargano, who was expected to play a key role for the South Americans.
His absence could be more than compensated, however, by an attack which should pose real problems for a faltering French defence.
France coach Raymond Domenech has thrown in a wildcard of his own, meanwhile, by dropping captain and record goalscorer Thierry Henry.
The 1998 World Cup winners have chosen Nicolas Anelka to lead their attack, with Sidney Govou and Franck Ribery in support.
At the back, Les Bleus will be concentrating on the threat of Diego Forlan, but central defenders William Gallas and Eric Abidal should also be mindful of Forlan’s strike partner, Luis Suarez.
Abidal has been quoted in the press admitting to difficulties in gelling with Gallas at the heart of the French defence, which could be a problem when dealing with Suarez.
Suarez has 10 goals from 29 caps and, having scored a towering 49 goals for Ajax last season, he is 7/1 to score first against France.
Uruguay also have the potential to cause serious damage from the bench, with the experienced Sebastian Abreu and Palermo striker Edinson Cavani named among the substitutes.
Cavani scored 13 Serie A goals last season, and he is 9/1 to break the deadlock against France.
France only have one win from their last five matches, whereas Uruguay have tasted victory in five of their last seven outings.
Also worrying for France is their habit of beginning tournaments slowly, as they drew 0-0 with Switzerland four years ago and infamously lost their 2002 World Cup opener to Senegal 1-0.