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Jun 4, 2014

Uruguay looks strong sans Suarez

His 65 million Euro move to PSG made him the most expensive Ligue 1 player of all time and he rewarded his new team by scoring 25 goals in 43 appearances.

Diego Forlan still has it in him

Diego Forlan had a very good game against Slovenia. He played as a second striker, acting as a playmaker behind Edinson Cavani -- so much that he assisted Cavani in Uruguay's first goal with a brilliant pass stuck into the back of the defensive line. Also, he was clinical from the set pieces, proving to be very dangerous from the corner kicks. He had to go down to midfield a few times to retrieve the ball but was one of the most important men on the field.

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Cavani is lethal when you give him room to play

PSG's striker didn't have many chances throughout the game. However, in the clearest one, he left Slovenia's goalkeeper Samir Handanovic empty handed to put his team up 1-0. The former Napoli star played a very generous team-focused match, as usual, but did not enjoy many opportunities to score due to very good defensive work from the rival team. Still, class is class, and he managed to score the first and assist the second goal and be the man of the match for the local TV.

Edinson Cavani (21) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal against Slovenia during a friendly soccer match in Montevideo, Uruguay, ahead of the World Cup.

Uruguay needs every attacker focused

Cavani's goal came at minute 36. In the first half hour, Uruguay were not so sharp in their offensive movements. The forwards tried to score on their own or with just a little help from their teammates. La Celeste was unable to create great attacking plays that included several quick passes and fine connections between the players. Their game didn't improved until Gaston Ramirez and Cristian Rodriguez started playing more to the centre and Forlan and Cavani started looking for the ball a few metres closer to the midfield. When they got together with the full backs, Uruguay were able to create danger and to start taking Slovenia out of the game.

Christian Stuani can't stop scoring

Stuani entered the game from the bench at halftime, substituting Ramirez. At minute 54, he created a foul that allowed a dangerous free kick. At 72', his spectacular bicycle kick was saved by Handanovic. And some minutes later, he got what he was looking for. Corner by Forlan, Jose Maria Gimenez fights for the ball and shoots, Cavani anticipates the keeper and gives the ball to Stuani, who scores with an open goal. This is his fourth goal in the past eight matches for Uruguay, and most of the time he comes on as a sub. He confirms his importance right before the big tournament comes, and manager Oscar Tabarez will surely keep him as one of his main alternatives.

Egidio Arevalo Rios can't do it alone

His sidekick, Walter Gargano, who is more prone to offense than him, had a few distribution problems while Uruguay couldn't find the way to the goal. That allowed Slovenia to recover the ball and run through the centre of the field. The European's most dangerous chances came when they got the ball in Arevalo Rios' back, usually after Maximiliano Pereira got stuck up in the field after an attacking run. The experienced defensive midfielder had some trouble in those opportunities but still managed to turn a good performance. With his 32 years, he doesn't seem to have lost his stamina and teamwork and played the full 90 minutes. A reliable man for Tabarez, Rios will have a lot of work to do in the World Cup if Uruguay wants to succeed in keeping their good defensive run.