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The Uruguay veteran expects his third World Cup to be hard going after being selected in Oscar Tabarez’s preliminary squad

Despite appearing to have earned the confidence of Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez, Cerezo Osaka playmaker Diego Forlan is taking nothing for granted.

The former Manchester United forward repeatedly downplayed his selection to the 25-man preliminary squad in a press conference held by his club that also featured Japan call-ups Yoichiro Kakitani and Hotaru Yamaguchi.

“As it’s still just a preliminary squad, I want to focus on training for three weeks in Uruguay,” the 2010 World Cup MVP told reporters. “I’m looking forward to meeting my team-mates and reuniting with family members.”

Despite having scored two goals against Japan in an August 2013 friendly, Forlan declined to speculate on a potential rematch between the two countries in the round of 16.

“We’re in a tough group, so even though it’s a possibility it’s too early to discuss,” he said. “I’m focused on one match at a time in Group D, so if we progress to the knockout stage and it happens I’ll be ready to comment.”

The 34-year-old is confident his Cerezo team-mates will do well in Brazil.

"I’m glad that [Yamaguchi and Kakitani] were chosen for the World Cup, and it’s a great thing for Cerezo Osaka.

“I don’t think they need my advice; they’re pros and they have the experience they need. It’s their first World Cup, but they have to enjoy it and focus on playing united as a team. Japan has a lot of good players and [Yamaguchi and Kakitani] can play well for them.”

Following Cerezo’s league fixture on Saturday against Urawa Reds, Forlan will join Uruguay’s camp for friendlies against Northern Ireland and Slovenia. The reigning South American champions are grouped with Italy, England, and Costa Rica.

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