New favourites Uruguay prepare to face Peru at Copa America

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The Independent Football

After overcoming hosts Argentina it’s now the turn of Uruguay to wear the favourite’s tag as they prepare to face Peru.

Uruguay stand just two games away from an historic 15th Copa América title but the topsy-turvy nature of the tournament shows nothing can be taken for granted.

Peru themselves have ended a 14 year hiatus from the semi-final stage of the Copa América. Following their win over Colombia in the quarter-finals belief is flooding through the white shirt with the red sash.

The two nations faced off in their first game of 2011 Copa América with the Group C clash ending in a 1-1 draw. Peru took the lead through striker Paolo Guerrero before Luis Suárez levelled things up.

Now the two Uruguayan head coaches in opposite dugouts get a second chance to outwit one another.

Uruguay’s Óscar Tabárez has a couple of selection headaches. He will be forced to make at least two changes from the team that started against Argentina.

Centre-back Mauricio Victorino limped out in the 19th minute of the quarter-final and was replaced by Andrés Scotti. However, with Sebastián Coates returning from suspension it looks likely it will be him partnering Diego Lugano in the heart of defence.

Midfielder Diego Pérez is unavailable to Tabárez after his first half sending off against Argentina while Edison Cavani and Diego Godin remain on the injury list.

Diego Forlán is yet to discover his scoring touch at this Copa América but Uruguay’s talisman remains satisfied with his contribution.

“I’m feeling very comfortable about the way I’ve been playing. I may not be scoring goals but the team is in the semi-finals. If Uruguay wins the tournament without me scoring I goal I won’t mind at all.”

Forlán to break his Copa América duck in fine style with a hat-trick against Peru is priced at 40.00 with

Sergio Markarian’s appointment as head coach of Peru made him the second highest paid gaffer at the Copa América. It has since transpired that he is worth every single peso of his pay packet.

Markarian may never have played the game professionally but he has managed to install a work ethic in the Peruvian team that has been absent since the days of Teófilo Cubillas.

The manager known as ‘The Wizard’ in Peru has a full understanding of the pressures that surround his group of players.

“Peruvian football has been through many years of suffering. After years of frustration this generation has inherited a debt to the fans. This debt may not be of our making but we have the responsibility to repay it all the same.”

Peru seem set to welcome defender Santiago Acasiete back to the starting line-up in place of Cristian Ramos.

Another likely switch comes in midfield with Luis Advincula losing out to Carlos Lobatón who opened the scoring against Colombia.

The best piece of news for Peru is that left-sided attacker Juan Manuel Vargas has now completely shaken off the injury that saw him miss chunks of the group stage.

Peru to claim their second 2-0 win of the knock-out rounds is available at 20.00 with

Another rival both teams must consider is the surface at La Plata. The pitch remains a major talking point after the quarter-final between Brazil and Paraguay.

You can watch Uruguay v Peru live on ESPN UK.

Uruguay: Fernando Muslera, Maximiliano Pereira, Diego Lugano, Sebastián Coates, Martín Cáceres, Álvaro González, Walter Gargano, Egidio Arévalo Ríos, Álvaro Pereira, Luis Suárez, Diego Forlán.

Perú: Raúl Fernández, Renzo Revoredo, Santiago Acasiete, Alberto Rodríguez, Walter Vílchez, Carlos Lobatón, William Chiroque, Rinaldo Cruzado, Juan Vargas, Luis Advíncula, Paolo Guerrero.

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For more on Copa America 2011, listen to The South American Football Show.