Uruguay vs Slovenia
4 June 2014
Estadio Centenario, Montevideo
Unofficial Football World Champions Uruguay face their final challenge before heading to Brazil in this World Cup warm-up / UFWC title match against Slovenia. If Uruguay win or draw, they will retain the UFWC title and take it with them into the World Cup Finals. If Slovenia win, they will become the new unofficial champions and defend their title against Argentina just three days later on 7 June.
Slovenia have only played three previous UFWC title matches, and have failed to win any of them. They drew 0-0 with Romania ahead of the World Cup in 1994, lost 3-1 to Russia in 1996, then lost 2-0 to Romania in 2006. Outside of the UFWC competition, recent form has been mixed. They lost their last match 2-0, against Algeria in March. They’d previously beaten Canada, and last year defeated Norway, Cyprus, Albania and Iceland in World Cup qualifiers. However, they were beaten 1-0 by Switzerland, who ultimately qualified for the World Cup at Slovenia’s expense.
Slovenia’s coach is Srečko Katanec, who played in the 1990 World Cup Finals for Yugoslavia. (He famously requested to be left out of his country’s quarter final, which they lost to Argentina, due to a death threat he had received.) This is his second spell in charge of Slovenia – he previous led the team to the 2002 World Cup Finals. Among the squad at his disposal are goalkeeper Samir Handanović of Inter Milan, defender and captain Boštjan Cesar of Chievo, and the striker Milivoje Novaković, who plays for Japan’s Shimizu S-Pulse, and has scored 25 goals in 61 games for his country.
Uruguay will again be without Luis Suarez, although hopes remain that the Liverpool striker will be available for the World Cup following knee surgery. Coach Oscar Tabarez has said he will not make a decision on Suarez’s fitness until the day before the team’s opener against Costa Rica. In his absence, Diego Forlan is likely to support Edinson Cavani up front, although Christian Stuani and Abel Hernandez will both look to push their claims against Slovenia. Stuani scored Uruguay’s winner in the last match against Northern Ireland.
Uruguay and Slovenia have only met once before, in 2001, when Uruguay won 2-0. Uruguay are clear favourites to win this latest meeting, too. Bet365 have the UFWC champions at 2/5, with Slovenia at 7/1 and the draw at 7/2. (Odds correct at time of writing but subject to change – check latest odds here.)
You can watch a free and legal live stream of Uruguay vs Slovenia via Bet365 (subject to geographical restrictions). It’s completely free of charge, and you don’t need to place a bet, but you’ll need to have a funded Bet365 account, so you might want to create one now before the match starts. Get more details at the Bet365 website.
Kick off in Montevideo is 20:30 on Wednesday 4 June, which is 00:30 on the morning of Thursday 5 June in the UK. We’ll bring you a match report right here on Thursday morning, and you can also keep up to date by following us on on Twitter or Facebook.