Uruguay captain Diego Lugano will miss the team's next World Cup match against England due to a knee injury. His status for the side's final fixture of the group stage with Italy on June 24 is unclear.
The Daily Mail passed along the news of his untimely absence:
The 33-year-old centre-back struggled to showcase top form with West Bromwich Albion in limited action during the club's Premier League campaign. He was also merely average in the team's surprising loss to Costa Rica in its opening game of the World Cup.
Yet, his loss is still a key one for the the Celeste. Not only does he have nearly 100 matches of international experience, but the side also lacks depth at the back. Uruguay only brought seven natural defenders to Brazil, and right-back Maxi Pereira is out due to a red card.
It's a disappointing setback for Lugano. David Hytner of The Guardian passed along comments from the veteran defender before the tournament, who admitted the side realised the high expectations that were being placed on their shoulders:
The people have massive expectations and I think that not only history but the present leads us to have an obligation to perform very well. In Suarez, Cavani and Forlán, we have three world-class strikers and we have to take advantage of that.
But the best way to do that, as we did in South Africa and at the Copa America, is to be a very solid team, practically unbreakable. Then, the strikers can shine and make us win games.
Trying to defend a potent England attack led by Wayne Rooney or Daniel Sturridge without Lugano or Pereira is definitely an uphill battle for a Uruguayan group that is probably still stunned after losing the opener. Jerrad Peters of Sportsnet notes Jose Maria Gimenez could be the replacement:
As for his club situation, Lugano was let go by West Brom after the Premier League campaign ended. He'll likely have to prove he's all the way back to full strength before another team is ready to make any type of commitment.
The Celeste and the Three Lions are both seeking all three points after dropping their first matches of the event. That would point to a wide-open affair, which wouldn't bode well for a team missing two pieces of its back line.
Lugano hasn't been at his best in recent years, but his absence will still be felt by Uruguay.