FIFA World Cup

Maxi Pereira Red Card: How Uruguay Will Cope in Star's Absence

Uruguay's Maxi Pereira leaves the pitch after getting a red card during the group D World Cup soccer match between Uruguay and Costa Rica at the Arena Castelao in Fortaleza, Brazil, Saturday, June 14, 2014.(AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
Bernat Armangue/Associated Press
Gianni VerschuerenFeatured ColumnistJune 14, 2014

Uruguay certainly didn't expect to lose their first 2014 World Cup match against Group D underdogs Costa Rica on Saturday. Down 3-1 late in the match, Maxi Pereira committed a harsh frustration foul on Joel Campbell, leading to the defender's dismissal.

Eurosport didn't have any issues with the official's decision:

This fan shared the Vine of the cynical challenge:

Via Fantasy League, it was the first red card of the 2014 World Cup:

The 30-year-old right-back joined Portugal's Benfica in 2007 and has been a mainstay at the club ever since, so losing Pereira to a suspension will obviously hurt Uruguay's chances in the rest of the tournament.

Martin Caceres started on the other wing for Uruguay and failed to impress against Costa Rica. Going up against European heavyweights Italy and England, La Celeste will need their defence to be at its finest.

The most logical replacement for the experienced Pereira is Jorge Fucile. The 29-year-old is still under contract with FC Porto but has hardly played there in the last few seasons, spending one year on loan at Brazilian side Santos.

Matilde Campodonico/Associated Press

Fucile was an integral member of the team that made it all the way to the 2010 World Cup semi-finals, however, and his experiences in that tournament will come in handy in Brazil.

The Three Lions feature a host of explosive wingers, including Raheem Sterling and Adam Lallana, and with Caceres struggling and Pereira now out, they'll be looking to exploit Uruguay's weaknesses out on the wings.

The same goes for Italy, who can use Antonio Candreva and Claudio Marchisio out wide. These players like nothing more than dropping long passes in the back of the defence, taking advantage of the space there.

Pereira could be back in the starting lineup for the match against the Italians, depending on whether or not FIFA decide to suspend him for a longer period of time. Given the nature of the foul he committed, it seems likely a multiple-match suspension will be handed down.

And even if the suspension would be for only one match, one has to wonder whether Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez is willing to trust the right-back, who truly let his teammates down with a stupid challenge late in a match that had already been lost.

 

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