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   21 May, 2002 | 1445 IST


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Uruguay missing top players for warm-up match

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Uruguay's World Cup warm-up match against Singapore later on Tuesday is likely to be a low-key affair after the South Americans flew in from Japan without 10 of their squad members.

Several Uruguayans were unwilling to make the long flight from Japan to Singapore after a tiring season of European club football which ended only two weeks ago.

But, even without talent like Alvaro Recoba (Inter Milan), Paolo Montero (Juventus), Dario Silva (Malaga) and Sebastian Abreu (Cruz Azul), the match will be a doddle as Uruguay prepare for their opening group A game against Denmark in Ulsan, South Korea on June 1.

"This is really a waste of time, but we were told we had to go. Only some senior players like Recoba were given a choice," said one player who asked not to be named. "But what must be done must be done."

The Uruguay squad arrived in Singapore on Monday evening after scoring an easy 2-0 victory in a friendly against first-time World Cup qualifiers China in Guangdong last Thursday.

Coach Victor Pua put his players through their paces in training late on Monday, but it never looked more than a stretching session after several hours on a plane.

The 17-man party seemed to enjoy it, including the four who were left out of the final 23 named in the World Cup squad.

"We accepted what was offered to us," Pua said through an interpreter when asked why his team bothered to take the roundabout route to South Korea from China and Japan, where the team had been since their win in Guangdong last week.

"I don't deal with administration, so I am not really in a position to comment on that."

Among those who did make the trip was Daniel Fonseca of Juventus, who failed to make the final World Cup squad because of a foot injury.

The match against a mediocre Singapore team will present players like Manchester United striker Diego Forlan and Juventus goalkeeper Fabian Carini with the chance to claim a place in the starting line-up for the World Cup opener against Denmark.

Uruguay will also meet world champions France and Senegal in group A next month.

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