Liverpool striker Darwin Nunez has been named in Uruguay’s starting XI for the World Cup clash against Ghana in what is set to be a fierce grudge match.
The Liverpool man has started in both of Uruguay’s group stage games so it is no surprise that he has retained his spot in the starting line-up.
It was unclear where Nunez would play today, with the forward being used on the left wing against South Korea before being deployed in a front two alongside Edinson Cavani in the loss to Portugal.
However, due to Luis Suarez’s inclusion in the starting line up, and his relative lack of pace in comparison to Nunez, it is expected that the Liverpool man will be deployed coming in off the left wing once again.
The striker will be desperate to get himself on the scoresheet after failing to find the net in either of Uruguay’s matches so far.
However, blame for the lack of goals can really be directed towards Nunez, who hasn’t received a great deal of service in either of the matches due to Uruguay’s rigid style of play.
La Celeste have had a disappointing start to the tournament, picking up just one point in their opening two games. The South Americans have failed to score in both games, drawing 0-0 with South Korea before falling to a 2-0 defeat to Portugal in their most recent game.
This has left Uruguay bottom of their group on one point, meaning they now need to secure a win against Ghana to qualify for the last 16 knockout round.
However, their opponents will be fired up for the game and are unlikely to roll over for Uruguay, given the history between the two nations and the inclusion of a certain former Liverpool star.
The animosity between the countries dates back to the 2010 World Cup, where the two met in the quarter-finals of the tournament in a highly controversial match.
The match was finely poised at 1-1 heading into the final stages of extra time when Uruguay striker and Suarez blocked a clear goal by handling the ball on the line.
The then Ajax man was shown a straight red card for the offence, with Ghana being awarded a penalty.
Asamoah Gyan stepped up to take the spot kick but hit the bar, meaning the match headed to penalties. That miss proved to be decisive, as Uruguay would go on to win the ensuing shootout.
This led to Suarez becoming villainised in Ghana, with many of the population blaming the Uruguayan as the sole reason for their exit from the competition.
The hatred many Ghanaians felt towards Suarez was exacerbated by the fact that his handball prevented them from making history by being the first African side in history to reach the semi-finals of a World Cup.
With the history between the two sides in mind, alongside Uruguay’s desperation to qualify for the next round and Ghana’s resolve to right the wrongs of 2010, a feisty affair could be in order.
The match is set to kick off at 3pm (Fri Dec 2) and will take place in Qatar’s Al Janoub Stadium.