x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Edinson Cavani injury forces Uruguay into a reshuffle

The injured Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani will miss his side's must-win Copa America clash with Mexico tonight while Martin Caceres, the left-back, is suspended.

Edinson Cavani receives treatment on Sunday on the right knee he injured against Chile in Uruguay’s 1-1 draw on Friday.
Edinson Cavani receives treatment on Sunday on the right knee he injured against Chile in Uruguay’s 1-1 draw on Friday.

The injured Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani will miss his side's must-win Copa America clash with Mexico tonight while Martin Caceres, the left-back, is suspended.

Oscar Tabarez, the coach, must now shuffle his pack for a match Uruguay, who along with hosts Argentina have won the Copa a record 14 times, must win if they are to progress to the quarter-finals.

Cavani twisted ligaments in his right knee in his side's 1-1 draw with Chile on Friday and Caceres was ruled out after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament.

"Obviously replacing a player of Edinson's quality isn't easy. We all know what he brings to the group," his fellow striker Luis Suarez told a news conference in Mendoza yesterday before the World Cup semi-finalists flew to La Plata for the Group C match.

"But that's why there are 23 of us in the squad and whoever comes in to replace him will do a great job."

Abel Hernandez and Cristian Rodriguez are favourites to replace Cavani while Alvaro Pereira is likely to drop back to defence to replace Caceres with Alvaro Gonzalez taking his place in midfield.

Having drawn their first two games, Uruguay need to beat Mexico to be sure of a place in the last eight where Colombia were the first team to qualify following their 2-0 victory against Bolivia on Sunday in Group A which took them to seven points.

The victory, which came courtesy of two goals from the Porto striker Radamel Falcao, also guarantees that Peru and Chile, who clash tonight in Group C, and Venezuela, who all have four points after two matches, also advance to the knockout stage.

Colombia will face the best third-place team in the quarter-finals. The top two teams in each group reach the knockout stages, joined by the best two third-place teams.

Elsewhere, Cesar Farias, the Venezuela coach, has expressed his satisfaction with the way things have been going so far, but insisted his side must keep their feet on the ground when they play Paraguay in Salta tomorrow night.

Venezuela have been the surprise package at this year's tournament so far, having drawn 0-0 with the champions Brazil before beating Ecuador 1-0 on Saturday to top Group B with four points and thus guaranteeing themselves a place in the last eight regardless of tonight's outcome.

"We have no suspended or injured players. We are adding positive things that allow us to keep on dreaming, and that means that we are doing something well," Farias said yesterday.

He made it clear, however, that the match against Paraguay will be crucial if they want to win the group and he said that they have to remain level-headed.

"We have to be very focused with this good chance," he said. "In the first game the team had to hold the result, the second we were more released, and the in third one will have to play with the result and with the pressure, which is less than Paraguay's."

Paraguay, who are second in the group with two points, will be looking for their first victory in the tournament having struggled to offer much of an attacking threat.

Brazil, who have won the last two tournaments, could go out of the first round for the first time in their history if they fail to beat Ecuador in Group C's other match.

* Compiled with agencies