Uruguay will look to pick up another win when they face Japan in the second match of Copa America Group C at Fonte Nova Arena in Brazil.
Oscar Tabarez’s started their campaign with a resounding 4-0 win over Ecuador. Their result was matched by defending champions Chile against Japan, and La Celeste will look to pick up another win before facing off against La Roja to decide the top spot of Group C.
Uruguay are the most successful team in the competition, winning it 15 times. However, the last win came in 2011, and they would like to make this year’s edition count and add a 16th title.
Coming to their opponents, Japan are playing their second-ever Copa America, having played the 1999 edition of the tournament. They are yet to pick up a win though, and Uruguay will not be easy pickings either.
The Blue Samurai were thumped 4-0 by Chile in the previous game with Hajime Moriyasu fielding a young lineup. Japan’s squad consisted of 16 uncapped players before the start of this tournament, as Moriyasu prepares his team for next year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Thus, the AFC Asian Cup finalists are inexperienced than normal, making it tougher to progress, even as one of the best third-placed teams.
In terms of team news, Uruguay were dealt a blow with midfielder Matias Vecino ruled out of the tournament due to injury. He will be replaced by Arsenal’s Lucas Torreira as Tabarez will prefer to maintain continuity.
On the other hand, Moriyasu can be expected to ring in the changes, considering the previous result and the inexperience in the squad.
Head-To-Head and Uruguay vs Japan Prediction
In terms of head-to-head, Japan won the most recent meeting between the sides in 2018, picking a 4-3 victory. However, they failed to win the previous four meetings before the 2018 win, and the Blue Samurai could find it challenging to find the back of the net against their opponents.
Uruguay have not drawn any of their last 18 games while they have won each of their previous four games, scoring 14 goals and conceding none. On the other hand, Japan have won twice and drawn once in their previous five games.
Nevertheless, Uruguay’s quality and experience will prove too much for the young Japanese to handle, and La Celeste can be expected to coast to another win and effectively seal progression into the knockout stages.
Predicted Uruguay XI: Muslera; Caceres, Godin, Gimenez, Laxalt; Nandez, Bentancur, Torreira, Lodeiro; Cavani, Suarez
Predicted Japan XI: Osako; Hara, Tomiyasu, Ueda, Sugioka; Abe, Shibasaki, Nakayama, Nakajima; Kubo, Okazaki