Uruguay vs. Northern Ireland: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview

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Uruguay vs. Northern Ireland: Date, Time, Live Stream, TV Info and Preview
Osama Faisal/Associated Press

Uruguay will start their final slate of matches in preparation for next month's World Cup on Saturday, with a match against Northern Ireland in Montevideo.

The absence of Liverpool's Luis Suarez is sure to dominate headlines, and Saturday's match will give the team some insights as to how the hosts will cope without their star striker.

Uruguay have plenty besides Suarez and will be expected to be a contender in a World Cup group containing England, Italy and Costa Rica, so the team cannot afford to start their campaign with a friendly loss against underdogs Northern Ireland.

 

Date: Saturday, May 31.

Time: 12.30 a.m. BST/7:30 p.m. ET.

Venue: Estadio Centenario, Montevideo.

TV info and live stream: The match will be broadcast on the BBC (Red Button), with mobile coverage available via the BBC Sport website.

 

Uruguay will start their preparations the old-fashioned way, playing an opponent who shouldn't present the team with too many issues in Northern Ireland in hopes of jump-starting the squad to bigger and better performances against stronger opposition.

The hosts will be expected to win, and win big on Saturday, and anything less should be considered a failure.

Osama Faisal/Associated Press

Northern Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup from a difficult group containing Russia, Portugal and Israel, but Michael O'Neill's squad lost matches against football minnows Luxembourg and Azerbaijan and simply don't have the quality to match with teams the caliber of Uruguay.

The Sky Blues will be without star striker Suarez for the next few weeks, as the Liverpool man desperately tries to return to health in time for the World Cup following surgery on his knee.

Edison Cavani is one of the players who will have to step up in his absence, and he told El Pais, via Goal.com, the team hopes Suarez will make his return as soon as possible:

We're all a bit discouraged by what happened. Injuries are always ugly and more so at this time. I think we have to leave him alone now so he can have a good recovery with no anxiety on him. We wish he can join us as soon as possible.

With Cavani, Diego Forlan, Gaston Ramirez and Nicolas Lodeiro, La Celeste aren't short of attacking talent. While it's never easy to replace a star like Suarez, a strong result against Northern Ireland should give the team some much-needed confidence it can be done.

According to ESPN FC, the Northern Irishmen conceded 17 times in just 10 matches, and their 1-0 upset win over Russia was the only fixture in which the team didn't concede at least once.

Via Worldfootball24-7's Michael T Bonner, they won't be travelling to South America with their strongest squad either:

Sammy Clingan didn't hide the fact his team would be facing stiff competition during their South American trip either, as fans of Northern Ireland shouldn't get their hopes up too much:

Oscar Tabarez won't be looking at this match as a barometer for how his team will perform in Brazil in a few weeks' time—rather, this is a chance for the team to grow comfortable playing together and to score some goals that can only help morale.

The match against Slovenia in June will be the real test for La Celeste, and Tabarez would love nothing more than to go into that fixture with a decisive win over Northern Ireland this Saturday.

 

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