The Barcelona striker endured an afternoon to forget in Ekaterinburg last week as Oscar Tabarez’s much-fancied side laboured badly against a Mohamed Salah-less Egypt before Jose Gimenez’s late winning header, squandering three great opportunities to make things entirely more comfortable.
Suarez will hope to make amends for that thoroughly underwhelming display on Wednesday, when Uruguay’s all-time leading scorer and sixth most-capped player will make his 100th senior international appearance in Rostov-on-Don against a lowly Saudi team that looked woeful as they were thrashed 5-0 by hosts Russia on the opening day of the tournament.
Luis Suarez will make his 100th senior appearance for Uruguay against Saudi Arabia
The Barcelona star will look to bounce back from a wretched showing in the win over Egypt
Suarez is all smiles as he takes part in a final training session in Rostov-on-Don on Tuesday
The 31-year-old’s first 99 senior caps for Uruguay have yielded 51 goals – a national record
La Celeste completed preparations for that fixture on the pitch at Rostov Arena, with Suarez looking largely in good spirits as he trained alongside fellow star striker Edinson Cavani, who also experienced a great deal of frustration against Egypt as he hit the post with a 25-yard free-kick and forced some strong saves from goalkeeper Mohamed El-Shenawy.
Captain Diego Godin – a tough central defender whose frustration with his attacking colleagues led him to embark upon several one-man missions in that opening fixture – also appeared to be hard at work as long-serving head coach Tabarez, using a crutch as he battles against a rare degenerative disease called Guillain-Barre syndrome, looked on.
A win over Saudi Arabia would secure two-time winners Uruguay’s place in the last 16 of the World Cup and Tabarez will opt for a wealth of experienced heads, with wingers Cristian Rodriguez and Carlos Sanchez set to be promoted to the starting line-up after both coming off the bench against Egypt.
Seven of the Uruguayan players that will be on the pitch from the first whistle on Wednesday are aged 31 or over.
Strike partner Edinson Cavani will also hope to improve upon his display against Egypt
The PSG frontman hit the post with a 25-yard free-kick and saw several other efforts saved
Cavani prepares to hit a pass during training as Uruguay get ready for their second outing
Influential captain Diego Godin points the way for his Uruguay team-mates at the Rostov Arena
Uruguay will qualify for the last 16 with a win over a Saudi Arabia team thrashed by Russia
Coach Oscar Tabarez, who is using a crutch as he battles Guillain-Barre syndrome, looks on
‘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,’ said 71-year-old Tabarez.
He added: ‘I have a lot of confidence in the team I’m going to put out tomorrow, they have a lot of experience. 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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