Uruguay vs. Paraguay, 2014 World Cup qualifying: Preview and TV schedule

Michael Regan

Uruguay have only won twice since the start of last year, and with their qualification for the World Cup still far from secure, Friday night's game against Paraguay in Montevideo is crucial.

With Uruguay having won only three of their opening nine World Cup qualifying games, a win against the team at the bottom of South America's qualification table, Paraguay, is a must. Óscar Tabárez's side are currently only fifth, which means that as it stands they'd have to win a playoff in order to qualify.

His side have struggled for consistency, with the coach switching his formation every five minutes. But, having seen La Celeste deliver good performances against Poland and Spain in their last couple of games, he is set to stick with the 4-4-2. The biggest surprise in his starting eleven is that 33-year-old Diego Forlán will start ahead of Edinson Cavani alongside Luis Suárez in attack.

Forlán has been in good form domestically, though hasn't scored in his last seven games for Uruguay. With it seeming like he was slowly being phased out of the international set-up, his selection over Cavani has raised a few eyebrows, even if the Napoli forward hasn't been in the best form of late. Elsewhere there are no real surprises in Tabárez's selection.

As for Paraguay, coach Gerardo Pelusso -- himself a Uruguayan -- is likely to match his nation in a 4-4-2, though he has a few defensive concerns. Wigan Athletic centre-back Antolín Alcaraz is out through injury, while Benfica's young wing-back Lorenzo Melgarejo is in doubt.

Nevertheless, they should shouldn't be underestimated. They may be bottom of the group but have won three games on the bounce, and there have been some signs of life after a terrible start to their campaign. A disciplined, defence-first team, trying to keep Uruguay out will be their first priority. They haven't won away in Montevideo since 2001, though with Uruguay looking unconvincing of late, a surprise could be sprung.

Match Date/Time: Friday 21st March 2013 7 p.m. local, 6 p.m. ET

Venue: Estadio Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay

TV: beIN Sport en Español, beIN SPORT (U.S.)

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