Japan vs. Uruguay: Date, Time, Preview and More
Japan will play host to Uruguay in a high-flying international match on Wednesday, which will be a big telling point for each team's ability heading toward next summer's World Cup.
While the Japanese have already clinched their spot in the World Cup, Uruguay still has some work left to do in qualifying and could use a big boost in morale against what is one of the world's hottest squads at the moment. The Uruguayans are fifth in their group of qualifying, and 10 points short of Argentina's lead (per ESPN).
Led by star forward Luis Suarez, the Uruguayans have notched a goal in each of their last seven matches. But manager Alberto Zaccheroni has led Japan to 27 goals in their last six affairs.
Here's a look at everything you need to know for Wednesday's friendly.
When: Wednesday, August 14
Where: Miyagi Stadium, Rifu, Japan
Start Time: 6:20 p.m. ET
Injury News: Cavani Out
Uruguay's squad took a sizable hit Sunday when striker Edinson Cavani was ruled out of the Japan friendly, according to AFP News via Yahoo! Sports Singapore.
Cavani has been breaking out for some time, but it all clicked earlier this summer at the Confederations Cup. He finished fifth in goals with three in the short tournament, per ESPN.
Uruguay's attack relies heavily upon Suarez, but Cavani has been as important as any member of the squad in recent tournaments. They've figured out a way to build their offense around him, and it paid dividends with some incredible goals late in Confederations Cup play.
His absence will be hard felt for the South Americans.
Japan Player to Watch: Shinji Kagawa
Star players dominate international football, and Shinji Kagawa of Japan is a budding superstar who far too few people are talking about.
The young Manchester United midfielder is coming into his prime at 24 and is suddenly an experienced international player with 48 caps and 14 goals for the Japanese.
His unique ability to push passes into tight spots and set up his teammates for scoring chances is increasingly rare in world football today. It also happens to fit perfectly into Japan's system of quick attacking players with soft feet, like Keisuke Honda and others.
Kagawa is generating hype in the transfer market as well, as Borussia Dortmund haven't ruled out the possibility of his return to the Bundesliga side according to Thomas Zocher of Sky Sports.
But on Wednesday, all of his focus will be on building chemistry and scoring goals with Japan as they hope to continue their unheralded international success as of late.
Uruguay Player to Watch: Luis Suarez
Any time Luis Suarez takes the pitch, he inevitably turns into the centerpiece of attention.
The embattled Liverpool striker is still working out a sticky transfer situation, most recently ordering his teammates and himself not to talk about his club future while with his Uruguay squad, per John Cross of The Mirror.
The gesture obviously shows that Suarez is hoping to bring his best game to Japan for the friendly, in the hopes that he can put all of the distractions behind him and help this team win.
Appearing with the Uruguay national team since 2007, Suarez has experienced a heap of success internationally with 35 goals in 69 appearances.
They'll need those timely goals more than ever with the effective Cavani out.
Who will come out on top?
The stats prove that Japan is one of the hottest teams as of late, and playing host to a national team traveling across the country smells like another victory for Kagawa and company.
Uruguay will impact the scoreline as they typically do, but expect Japan's offensive firepower at home to be too much for the reeling South Americans.
Japan 3, Uruguay 2
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