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World Cup 2022: Struggling Uruguay Seek Key Victory in Venezuela

Venezuela vs Uruguay

Uruguay are having an underwhelming start to their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign. They have won just two of their first five matches and are currently outside of the four automatic qualification spots for Qatar.

Uruguay will look to get back on track as they pay a visit to Venezuela. La Vinotinto have had their own problems in qualifying with four defeats in their first five matches.

The World Cup 20222 betting odds favour La Celeste to win away from home, even with star striker Edinson Cavani once again set to miss out due to suspension.

Talking Points

Venezuela without star duo

Venezuela have not yet qualified to a World Cup in their entire history, and they are looking unlikely to do so again given their poor start to qualifying.

They are currently second from bottom in the standings after four defeats from their first five matches. They looked to be on the right path after holding Brazil to a 1-0 win in Sao Paulo and picking a shock 2-1 home win over Chile in November, However, they slumped to a 3-1 defeat to Bolivia last week.

Granted, Venezuela manager Jose Peseiro has some key absentees to deal with. He is without two of his top stars in striker Salomon Rondon and midfielder Yangel Herrera, who plays for La Liga side Granada, for these qualifiers due to injury.

The absence of Rondon, who scored the winner against Chile, is a huge blow. The 31-year-old former Newcastle United striker is the country’s all-time leading scorer with 31 goals in 82 games.

Although, Josef Martinez – the country’s second active leading scorer with 12 goals in 55 caps – is back in the squad after suffering a serious knee injury last year. He was only a substitute against Bolivia but could be handed a start against Uruguay. Venezuela are the lowest-scoring team in CONMEBOL with just three goals through five games.

Uruguay missing Cavani once more

Uruguay star striker Edinson Cavani won't feature in their World Cup 2022 qualifying match against Venezuela
Edinson Cavani warms up prior to a World Cup 2022 qualifying match between Uruguay and Brazil at the Centenario Stadium

Uruguay have not had a particularly strong start to qualifying. They are currently fifth in the standings with just seven points from five games.

La Celeste have gone winless in their last two matches — both at home — after losing 2-0 to Brazil in November and drawing 0-0 to Paraguay last week.

Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez fielded a strong XI led by Luis Suarez, who was fresh off his La Liga title triumph with Atletico Madrid. They also had Rodrigo Bentancur of Juventus, Matias Vecino of Inter Milan, and Fede Valverde of Real Madrid in midfield, with Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez, and Martin Caceres in defence.

Manchester United striker Edinson Cavani did not play due to suspension after his sending off in their loss to Brazil and will once again miss out against Venezuela. Jonathan Rodriguez made his first-ever start for his country alongside Suarez in Cavani’s absence.

With the likes of Cristhian Stuani, Maxi Gomez, and Darwin Nunez out of the squad due to injury, Tabarez does not have many options available to change up his attack against Venezuela.

The pressure will once again be on Suarez to create some World Cup 2022 highlights for La Celeste. Suarez is his country’s all-time leading scorer with 63 goals in 117 caps and has scored four of the team’s seven goals in qualifying thus far.

History

Uruguay have had the upper hand over Venezuela historically. La Celeste have won 18 of their 31 matchups, with La Vinotinto winning just five.

However, the Venezuelans have been surprisingly competitive in recent years. While they have won just once in their last 10 meetings, they have also drawn five of those matches, five of which have been World Cup qualifiers.

Salomon Rondon scored the winning goal in Venezuela’s lone win during that time, a 1-0 victory in the Copa America in 2016.