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Uruguay keen to beat Ecuador after Colombia upset
Published : 11 Sep 2012 10:47:47
After a crushing defeat in Colombia on Friday, reigning South American champions Uruguay need a positive reaction when they face Ecuador as South American qualifying for the 2014 World Cup continues on Tuesday.
Le Celeste had gone 18 matches without defeat before suffering a 4-0 reverse in the sweltering heat of Barranquilla, never recovering after Radamel Falcao gave Colombia a second-minute lead.
Now Oscar Tabarez's side find themselves occupying the fourth and final automatic qualifying berth, a point behind Ecuador ahead of their showdown in Montevideo.
"I'm not worried about the morale of the players because it's not as if they were just born last week, I know what they can do and I believe in these players more than ever before," said the veteran coach, who led his team to the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
"It was a hard defeat to take, but the only good thing to take from it is that we are not talking about our unbeaten run anymore.
"The challenge for us is to show that the Colombia result was an accident."
Uruguay welcome back Liverpool striker Luis Suarez after suspension, but several key players, including Diego Godin, Alvaro Pereira and Walter Gargano, are all just a booking away from a ban that would rule them out of the trip across the River Plate to face Argentina next month.
Argentina climbed above Chile to the top of the group with a 3-1 home win against Paraguay on Friday thanks to goals from Angel Di Maria, Gonzalo Higuain and Lionel Messi.
It was their sixth win in a row, including friendlies, and they now face Peru in confident mood.
Alejandro Sabella takes his side to Lima, where Argentina famously lost 1-0 to their hosts in 1985 after Luis Reyna man-marked Diego Maradona out of the game.
A similar job may be required to keep Messi quiet, although Peruvian fans did their bit by greeting the Barcelona star outside his hotel by chanting the name of his arch-rival, Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.
Messi's current form is ominous, with 10 goals in his last six appearances for his country, and Sabella also welcomes back Javier Mascherano after suspension.
Peru are potentially dangerous opponents, and are looking to build on a 2-1 home win against Venezuela at the weekend, achieved thanks to a brace from Jefferson Farfan.
Meanwhile, Chile's home clash with Colombia is arguably the outstanding game of the midweek fixture card.
Chile, who trail group leaders Argentina by just a point, are looking for a fourth win on the bounce, while the Cafeteros head to Santiago fresh from their win over Uruguay.
Tuesday's other game sees bottom side Paraguay face Venezuela in Asuncion. Both sides lost at the weekend and are in urgent need of a win to get themselves back into qualifying contention.
Tuesday (kick-off times GMT)
Chile v Colombia (1930), Uruguay v Ecuador (2130), Paraguay v Venezuela (2325), Peru v Argentina (0125 Wednesday)