At 2:45PM EST (8:45PM Dublin Time) on Tuesday, March 29, 2011, the Uruguyan National Team will face off against the Irish in Aviva Stadium (former Landsdowne Road) for an International Friendly. The Irish are keen on showing the International Football World they can hang with world class competition. Oh ya, and then they also have someone named Robbie Keane who has scored 46 international goals for the boys. Unfortunately, Keane won’t be playing Tuesday but did help Ireland defeat Macedonia 2-1 last week in the EuroChampionship qualifying match. Against Macedonia, impressive performances were displayed by Damien Duff, Keiren Westwood (the Coventry keeper who was given the start due to Shay Given’s injuries), and Aiden McGeady. On a more negative note, Wolverhampton’s (EPL) Kevin Doyle suffered an injury which will sideline him for 2 months. This is a devastating blow to the Irish who are now up to 10 points at the top of Group B with Russia and Slovakia, while many critics had doubted they could get past lowly Macedonia.
Last week, Uruguay also had a match which made them travel to a freezing Tallinn, Estonia for an International Friendly in which they uncharacteristically lost 2-0 to a subpar team where the pitch resembled an ice skating rink. Diego Forlán (Atletico Madrid), Uruguay’s captain and one of the best strikers in the world, may have felt the pressure of the Uruguayan and Spanish press since he’s only 2 goals behind the leading scorer in Uruguayan history, Hector Scarone. There may be a debate as to who is the most decorated player in Uruguyan football history, however, it’s important to note that Scarone has been the country’s top scorer with 31 international goals for more than 80 years. Forlan is also only 8 games short of Uruguay’s all-time most capped player, the goalkeeper Rodolfo Rodríguez, and may overtake him in the next 1-2 years.
As far as the match itself, the Irish will be without Leon Best, John O’Shea, Shay Given, Robbie Keane, Kevin Doyle, Damien Duff, Richard Dunne. The abovementioned were senior players who were either injured or released to their clubs ahead of the match. Expect Kevin Kilbane and James McCarthy to get plenty of action while Anthony Stokes and Cillian Sheridan will be on standby.
Ireland is extremely focused. They still have that bitter taste in their mouth after getting robbed out of World Cup qualifying for South Africa because of Thierry Henry’s “hand of god” goal. But the Irish have picked up their knickers and have completely bought into the system and strategy of Italian manager Giovanni Trappatoni. They are intent on polishing up their play to go deep in the Euro Championships in 2012. Aiden McGeady(Spartak Moscow) is in great form on the wing and even with the injuries in their defence, they have looked solid. However, they’ll have their hands full on Tuesday with Suarez, Forlan, Hernandez, Martin Caceres, Diego Godin, and Maximiliano Pereira. All are talented, multi dimensional players with great ball skills and Uruguay is known for slipping cheeky “through balls” behind defenders while also creating space to let off rocket shots. Most of Uruguay’s stars are now playing in La Liga, Serie A, as well as trying to break into the EPL (Luis Suarez).
Prediction: 2-1 for Ireland. Ireland’s younger squad prevails and draws great energy off of the home crowd. Forlan will surely hit the back of the net for the Uruguyans.
Keiren Westwood Fernando Muslera
Keith Kilbane Juan Castillo
James McCarthy Diego Godin
Kevin Foley Andres Scotti
Darren O’Dea Mauricio Victorino
Glen Whelan Jorge Fucile
Aiden McGeady Martin Caceres
Darron Gibson Maximiliano Peira
David Forde Alvaro Pereira
Stephen Kelly Diego Perez
Ciaran Clark Sebastian Eguren
Liam Lawrence Gaston Ramirez
Keith Fahey Egidio Arevalo Rios
Shane Long Alvaro Gonzalez
About the Author
Written by Timothy Ashe Jr.
Tim was born and raised in Downers Grove, IL (a suburb of Chicago). He graduated with a degree in Political Science and Spanish from the University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign and also holds University English Language Excellence certificates. He's fluent in Spanish and teaches both English and Spanish in his spare time. He's a Real Madrid and Chicago Fire aficionado and is partial towards the EPL and LFP. His hope is that the game of soccer can continue to grow in the U.S.A. and for our men's national team to eventually win the World Cup.