Saudi Arabia v Uruguay: Suarez in the spotlight

8 October 2014 13:00

Luis Suarez will come under the microscope when Uruguay visit Saudi Arabia in a friendly on Friday.

The Barcelona forward is in line to feature for his national team for the first time since biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in Brazil earlier this year.

While Suarez is banned for Uruguay’s next eight competitive fixtures because of the incident, the 27-year-old is able to feature for Uruguay in friendly matches after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) altered FIFA’s original punishment, which banned him from “any kind of football-related activity”.

Subsequently, coach Oscar Tabarez named Suarez in a 22-man squad ahead of the match with Saudi Arabia at the Prince Abdullah Al Faisal Stadium and Monday’s clash with Oman.

Asked last Friday for his views on Suarez’s bite, Tabarez replied: “I will only speak with Luis Suarez about my thoughts. You must be humble and not judge.

“I know people have an opinion about it, but judging doesn’t amuse me.”

The game against Saudi Arabia is the first Uruguay have played since Tabarez penned a contract extension to remain with Uruguay through to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

Since taking the reins of the national team in 2006, Tabarez has led Uruguay to Copa America glory in 2011 and secured fourth place at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

His immediate remit is to prepare Uruguay for the defence of their Copa America title in Chile in June 2015.

Uruguay are facing Asian opposition for the third match in succession after they defeated Japan and South Korea in friendly matches last month.

Edinson Cavani was on the scoresheet in the 2-0 victory over Japan in Sapporo, but the Paris Saint-Germain forward was omitted this time around, although reports in Uruguay suggest Tabarez is merely resting the forward.

Tabarez must also make do without Juventus defender Martin Caceres, who limped out of Sunday’s 3-2 win over Roma with a muscle injury.

For Saudi Arabia, the contest is a chance to continue preparations for January’s Asian Cup in Australia.

Juan Ramon Lopez Caro’s side head into the match as massive underdogs and they will need to put in a flawless performance if a run of just one win in their last seven matches is to be improved.

Caro will at least take heart from Saudi Arabia’s last outing, which saw them push Australia hard in a 3-2 defeat.

Al Hilal midfielder Saud Khariri is a doubt ahead of the match with a knee injury.