Uruguay vs Peru: Torreira ready to return for quarter-final

Oscar Tabarez has a decision to make in midfield for what should be a fascinating quarter-final between Uruguay and Peru.

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez felt Edinson Cavani's goal against Chile was one that only a select few players could have scored.   -  Getty Images

Lucas Torreira will be fit to face Peru in a boost to Uruguay's hopes of winning Saturday's Copa America quarter-final.

The tenacious Arsenal midfielder has re-joined his team-mates in training in El Salvador following an illness that involved vomiting and weight loss.

Torreira, 23, played no part in the 1-0 win over Chile as Uruguay finished top of Group C on seven points.

Edinson Cavani's late goal secured a crucial three points and the 2011 champion remains unbeaten following a 4-0 crushing of Ecuador and 2-2 draw against Japan.

"I've been able to train normally with part of the team and I'm feeling better," Torreira said ahead of the weekend encounter at Arena Fonte Nova.

"[I spent] two days in bed with a fever, headache, vomiting. I'm recovering.

"I lost almost three kilos and there were difficult days, but I feel better and I think that by Saturday I will be prepared for the game."

READ: Copa America 2019: Tite slams state of Arena do Gremio pitch

Torreira's return to fitness replenishes the midfield stocks damaged by Matias Vecino's forced withdrawal from the tournament due to a hamstring injury.

Rodrigo Bentancur and Real Madrid's Federico Valverde could continue their partnership, while the presence of Nahitan Nandez gives Oscar Tabarez plenty of options for what could be a tricky encounter with a team that has plenty to prove.

Peru attracted plaudits for winning through to last year's World Cup and collected four points from its opening two Copa America matches.

But all momentum was lost in a humiliating 5-0 defeat to Brazil and local reports have hinted head coach Ricardo Gareca could face a fight to keep his job if the Blanquirroja are bundled out before the final four.

"After a result of this nature you have to rethink many things," Gareca said after the humbling last outing.

With the spotlight firmly fixed on Peru, more resilience is a must.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Uruguay - Rodrigo Bentancur

Though blessed with a fine attacking partnership in Cavani and Luis Suarez, Uruguay has not been so fortunate in terms of fitness issues in the heart of midfield. Juventus playmaker Bentancur was the constant across the group stage and brings a good measure of calm to Tabarez's team.

Peru - Paolo Guerrero

Jefferson Farfan's premature departure from the tournament due to a knee issue has increased the level of output needed from Peru's other forwards. Guerrero has the broad shoulders and ability to carry the burden.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Uruguay has beaten Peru in only one of its past five Copa America meetings (D2 L2), but it was in the most recent clash - a 2-0 triumph in the 2011 semi-finals.
- Peru defeated Uruguay the only other time they have faced each other in Brazil, 4-3 in the Copa America in 1949.
- Peru's loss to Brazil was its first in eight Copa America matches.
- Uruguay kept a clean sheet in two Copa America group games for the first time since 2007.

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