Last chance to impress Tabarez for Copa champions


Uruguay visit Morocco on Saturday in the final friendly before Oscar Tabarez selects his squad for this year's Copa America.

Tabarez's men will head to Chile in June aiming to retain the title they won for the 15th time with victory over Paraguay in the final four years ago in Argentina.

The absence of Luis Suarez - banned for the entire tournament after biting Italy's Giorgio Chiellini during last year's World Cup - is a blow to Uruguay's hopes of success.

And the Barcelona forward is unavailable for the clash with Morocco in Agadir - which serves as Uruguay's final game before a pre-Copa America friendly with Guatemala, which comes after the deadline for naming squads.

Suarez is instead playing in a charity game to mark former team-mate Steven Gerrard's final season with Liverpool. 

Also missing for the visitors is Hull City's Gaston Ramirez, the winger sidelined by a hamstring injury, while experienced duo Walter Gargano and Cristian Rodriguez have been overlooked.

Rodriguez has been left out because of a thigh problem but the decision to omit Napoli midfielder Gargano is surprising given his status as a regular with the Serie A side.

Gargano has not played for Uruguay since their 3-1 defeat to Costa Rica in the first game of the World Cup.

For Morocco, the game represents their biggest test since a 2-0 defeat to Russia last June. However, despite the quality of their opposition, two of the North Africans' more talented players have not been included in the squad.

Dynamo Kiev's Younes Belhanda and QPR's Adel Taraabt both miss out, with coach Badou Zaki handing call-ups to five uncapped players.

Goalkeepers Munir Mohand Mohamedi and Abdelali Mhamdi have both been picked for the first time, along with 19-year-old defender Ahmed El Messaoudi.

Further forward midfielder Sofyan Amrabat is another teenager to earn a call-up, the 18-year-old selected in spite of only making three appearances for Eredivisie side Utrecht.

Nantes attacker Yacine Bammou could win his first cap, but Verona midfielder Mounir Obbadi will not feature because of a hamstring issue.

For all the young talent potentially on show for Morocco, the focus is sure to be on Uruguay as they look to produce a strong performance in what serves as the last chance to impress Tabarez ahead of another tilt at the Copa America title.