Northern Ireland set for friendly date with Suarez and Uruguay

Liverpool and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez
Liverpool and Uruguay striker Luis Suarez

Northern Ireland have been lined up to play Uruguay in an international friendly on May 30.

Michael O’Neill’s side will come up against star-studded opposition including Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani in Montevideo.

The game will form part of Uruguay’s World Cup preparations – Oscar Tabarez’s side kick-off Group D against Costa Rica in Fortaleza on June 14 before they face England in Sao Paulo on June 19 and Italy in Natal on June 24.

Northern Ireland will use the fixture as a vital warm-up for the European qualifiers which kick-off in September.

“There is no friendly date in August this year, so the Uruguay friendly will be an important game looking ahead to the European qualifiers,” Irish FA president Jim Shaw said.

“It is very difficult to get a friendly based in Europe, with the World Cup finals taking place in Brazil.

“Most national teams competing in those finals will set up their base in South America, or somewhere like Florida.

“So it is one of those scenarios where we will have to travel to get a good competitive friendly.”

It will be the fourth meeting between the nations – the last of which came eight years ago when Uruguay earned a 1-0 win at the Giants Stadium in New Jersey.

Northern Ireland’s next outing will be against Cyprus in a friendly on March 5.