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Forlan, Recoba to spearhead Uruguay against Aussies

1 June 2007 13:15

SYDNEY (AFP) - Villareal sharpshooter Diego Forlan will spearhead a three-pronged strike force for Uruguay in their Copa America warm-up football match against Australia here Saturday.

Forlan, who missed the 2005 World Cup playoff which propelled Australia into their first World Cup finals in 32 years, arrived Thursday and has had just one full day's training.

Coach Oscar Tabarez included the former Manchester United star in an attacking line-up also featuring Inter Milan playmaker Alvaro Recoba.

Socceroos coach Graham Arnold believes the Uruguayan side is better than the one Australia beat on penalties to qualify for the World Cup in Germany.

"They didn't have Forlan when we played them in 2005, and they probably had a 50 percent fit Recoba, because he hadn't played much football at Inter Milan. I do believe they are a better side, so it's going to be a great test for us," Arnold told reporters Friday.

Tabarez refused to compare his starting XI to the one coached by former Uruguay boss Jorge Fossati the last time the two teams met.

"You cannot compare the two teams, they are different eras, it's a different squad," he said through an interpreter.

Tabarez said at least eight of his starting line-up would likely be in his preferred XI for this month's Copa America.

But like Arnold and the Socceroos, he is also keen to test out some fringe players ahead of the South American tournament.

While the 20-man squad in Australia features all foreign-based players, about six home players are expected to join the squad for the Copa.

Tabarez said he did not pick Uruguay-based players for the Sydney match because the country's league is in its final stages.

"It's a mystery as well to us what this team can do together," Tabarez said.

"We know the players individually, but it will interesting to see what this team can do.

"We are experimenting a little bit, there are positions (for the Copa America) still available, and tomorrow will be an incentive for the players to earn their positions."

Tabarez said the team was keen to play well for their Uruguayan ex-pats living in Australia.

West Ham United defender Lucas Neill will lead the weakened Australian side, which will be without World Cup stars Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Mark Bresciano, Vince Grella, Mark Schwarzer, Tim Cahill and John Aloisi.

Neill will be joined by Blackburn's Brett Emerton, PSV Eindhoven's Jason Culina, FC Twente's Luke Wilkshire and Basel's Mile Sterjovski, who were all at the World Cup.

It is Australia's major lead-up game ahead of July's Asian Cup.

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