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La Celeste Take on Group Favourites on Opening Day

France aren’t coming into the 2010 World Cup the strongest they have looked. They were almost dumped out by Ireland in the qualifying play-off, and were humiliated by China in their final warm-up match. Even so, Les Bleus will provide stern opposition for Uruguay in their opening match.

France will certainly be favourites coming into the Group A encounter; although both teams scraped through to South Africa via play-offs. For France, a controversial winner against Ireland booked their ticket to the finals, and La Celeste required a tight win over Costa Rica.

Uruguay players celebrate qualifying for the World Cup.

Uruguay are going to need the partnership of Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez to start firing immediately, as it will take a lot to beat Hugo Lloris in the French goal. France will also look to cause Oscar Tabarez’s side problems in the middle of the park, with a wealth of attacking talent, including Jeremy Toulalan, Franck Ribery, Yoann Gourcuff and Florent Malouda, all vying for places. However, La Celeste should be equipped to deal with the creative threat, as they will most likely deploy two holding midfielders and two wingbacks.

Hugo Lloris comes into the tournament after an impressive season with Lyon.

With the two teams lining up in Group A alongside Mexico and hosts South Africa, Uruguay will feel that if they can get anything from Friday’s match, then that will stand them in good stead to qualify from the group.

Uruguay coach Tabarez has already named the side which will face Les Bleus on Friday, with only two changes to the team which disposed of Israel 4-1 in their sole warm up match. Universidad de Chile’s Mauricio Victorino will replace Andres Scotti, and Egidio Arevalo Rios will line up in midfield at the expense of Napoli’s Walter Gargano.

Prediction: Neither team is coming into the tournament in top form, but I feel both have the quality to score goals, resulting in a 2-2 draw.

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