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Despite lacking the services of his star striker, Al Hain-Cole expects Oscar Tabarez to oversee an emphatic victory against a visiting side missing several key defenders

Uruguay will warm up for their opening World Cup clash against Group D opponents England by welcoming Northern Ireland to Montevideo for a friendly on Friday night.

Although currently sweating over the fitness of Luis Suarez, La Celeste remain firm 2/9 (1.22) favourites with William Hill to record a morale-boosting victory without their star man.

With just three wins to their name in their last 40 matches, Michael O’Neill’s men are considerable 12/1 (13.00) underdogs to become the first away side to come out on top at the Estadio Centenario in almost five years.

The guests have drawn three of their last four exhibition matches, and you can get odds of 5/1 (6.00) on them securing another stalemate this time out.

Northern Ireland fans will not be the only people from the British Isles keeping a close eye on events in Montevideo on Friday night, as England supporters watch on eagerly in order to find out how the South Americans cope without their injured talisman.

Although the Liverpool striker insists he expects to be fit in time for Brazil, the doctor of the national team tellingly refused to offer any guarantees, meaning Oscar Tabarez must be concocting a back-up plan should he fail to recover.

Fortunately, Tabarez is rather spoilt for choice in attack, where the experienced Diego Forlan will now have the chance to add to his 36 international goals alongside Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani.

What’s more, a number of notable absentees in the opposition ranks should allow the hosts ample opportunities to refine their goal-scoring touch against a makeshift defence that includes three uncapped youngsters.

With Johnny Evans, Gareth McAuley and Alex Bruce all missing from a backline that is usually the Green and White Army’s greatest strength, odds of 13/8 (2.63) are well worth a wager on Uruguay winning by at least three goals.

That bet looks particularly attractive given the visitors have conceded three or more against Luxembourg and Finland within the last year, as well as losing 6-0 against the Netherlands, not to mention their own record of just 12 goals scored in the last 17.

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Uruguay (-2) to win for a 1pt stake at 13/8 (2.63) with William Hill

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Al Hain-Cole is an experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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