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Liverpool star’s return + Costa Rica form = Uruguay punting joy

| 14.06.2014

News that Luis Suarez’s knee is bearing up under the strain of three training sessions a day has given Uruguay fans plenty to cheer about ahead of their World Cup clash with Costa Rica, whose desperate recent form strongly points to a 23/20 minus-one win for the near-locals.

Since signing off CONCACAF qualifying with a 2-1 win over Mexico in October, Costa Rica have lost four of their six games, and the manner of a few of those defeats suggests Suarez and co have little to worry about in Fortaleza.

Chile – who Uruguay got the better of over home and away matches in CONMEBOL qualifying – soundly thrashed Jorge Luis Pinto’s side 4-0 on their last visit to South America in January, and that defeat was preceded by a 1-0 loss against 1500/1 World Cup no-hopers Australia.

Costa Rica’s only recent crumb of comfort came in the form a 2-1 win at home to Paraguay, but further losses against South Korea and Japan will prove poor preparation for facing a strike force currently valued at around the £150m mark.

Despite having to sneak through an inter-confederation playoff with Jordan after a typically teak-tough South American qualifying campaign, Uruguay have won seven of their last 10 matches and can boast of a 3-2 October home win over 4/1 tournament second-favourites Argentina.

Oscar Tabarez’s side will have too much for their lowly opponents, who lost all three group matches during their last World Cup appearance eight years ago and went down by at least two against both Germany and Ecuador.

PSG’s £55m man Edinson Cavani grabbed the opener in Uruguay’s last pre-World Cup friendly, the 2-0 win against Slovenia, and a repeat of that scorecast at the Estadio Castelao is available at 16/1 with Ladbrokes.

However, teammate and 3/1 first-scorer favourite Suarez’s international record is just shy of one every two games, while Cavani’s is closer to one in three, so backing the Liverpool striker to score the first goal in a 2-0 Uruguay win at 14/1 looks the best bet for scorecast punters.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Alex Fortune