Edinson Cavani.

Cavani is vital for World Cup mission

Thursday 27 January 2022 07:00

Uruguay legend Diego Forlan says his country is pinning their hopes on Edinson Cavani keeping their World Cup dream alive.

The former Manchester United striker spoke to us about our current no.21 and his influence for the national team, in advance of critical South American qualifiers that will go a long way to determining whether Uruguay can avoid missing out on the tournament for the first time since 2006.

A proud nation that won the trophy in 1930 and 1950, and reached the quarter-finals in Russia four years ago, Uruguay are struggling in seventh spot in the table with crunch games to come during this break against Paraguay (Wednesday 26 January) and Venezuela next Tuesday (1 February).

Ties with Peru and Chile will follow in March to wrap up the qualifying campaign.

Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan were regular team-mates with Uruguay.

"He has different moments but now he's starting to get back on the team," Forlan told club media. "He had a couple of injuries but I'm happy for him. He's a great guy and a very good professional.

"I'm really happy for Edi playing for Manchester United. Hopefully, he gets more minutes. He'd had the opportunity to be more involved in the team and also for us, for the national team. We have four difficult games with the national team. Maybe he's in good form so he can do something good for the national team as well.

"He's a key player for us," added Forlan. "I think he's a key player for United and also for Uruguay as well. Maybe for Uruguay, a little bit more. He's very important because he's a goalscorer and a great player; very strong physically. He's been struggling with injuries and didn't have the games in a row that every player needs.

"But I think he's a very important player for us. Hopefully, he can come because, the last couple of times, he didn't have the opportunity to come to the national team. Now we need all the players for us to get qualification to try to get to Qatar this year."

Speaking to reporters last weekend, Cavani said: "Many times in the qualifiers, we've had to get the calculators out. Other times, it's been a bit calmer but that's the way it is - difficult. We cannot afford to drop points and need to get as many as possible."

Forwards Forlan and Cavani played alongside each other 46 times for Uruguay.

Edi's record is 51 goals in 124 internationals, and 17 in 45 World Cup qualifiers, while Diego hit the net 34 times during his 107 caps.