Though going into only their second Group A match here at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, Uruguay know that Wednesday’s clash with hosts South Africa in Tshwane/Pretoria is vital for their hopes of reaching of the Round of 16.
Set to join the fray for the first time at South Africa 2010 is Edinson Cavani, likely to form a formidable attacking triumvirate with La Celeste’s leading men: Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez. “I’ve been fortunate enough to play a few times with them before, we know each other well and I’ve no doubt we’ll make up a good forward trio,” the gifted 23-year-old told FIFA following his country’s final pre-match training session.
Having made his Uruguayan first-division debut in the colours of modest outfit Danubio back in 2006, the player’s star rose in early 2007 thanks to his top-scoring exploits at the South American U-20 Championship. His goals fired Las Charrúas to a berth at that year’s FIFA U-20 World Cup in Canada, where he hit two strikes in four games and confirmed the wisdom of Italian side Palermo, who had already secured his signature.
After scoring against Colombia on his senior national-team debut on 6 February 2008, Cavani has since added a further goal and 13 more caps to his collection. “I’m always proud to pull on my country’s jersey, be it in a friendly game or any other match,” said the rangy forward, who appeared in seven of Uruguay’s South Africa 2010 qualifiers. “But playing for them at a World Cup makes me really happy. It’s something I’ve dreamed about since I was a child and I thank God for making that dream come true.”
“It’s only natural, it’s the biggest debut of my career so far,” continued Cavani, when asked if he was suffering from any pre-match nerves. “But you’ve got to be able to control that anxiety. If not it can work against you, and I can’t afford for that to happen.”
And finally, what is Cavani’s verdict on tonight’s opponents at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium? “South Africa defend very well as a team and set their stall out really well, because they’ve got players who are very quick and skilful on the break. Besides which the stadium will be very noisy and there’s a chance we’ll struggle to communicate with each other at times. But we’re professionals: we know what we’ve got to do.”