Uruguay go back to school at Confed Cup

Uruguay's mood going into the Confederations Cup will depend on whether they have done their homework for the crucial World Cup qualifier in Venezuela four days before the tournament kicks off.

The 2010 World Cup semi-finalists could be in good spirits in Brazil if they pass the Venezuela exam and redress a poor qualifying campaign with only two points from their last six matches.

Coach Oscar "Master" Tabarez found some encouraging signs in Wednesday's 1-0 win over France in a friendly as he considers how to rejuvenate the ageing South American champions.

"We need to use paper and pencil a lot, tear it up and write again," former schoolmaster Tabarez cryptically told reporters.

"We've got to work on the pitch and that's where the conclusions will come. There are some doubts that make me reflect," he added solemnly.

"We're conscious we're going to play a match that will very much decide things for us."

Whatever happens against Venezuela, twice world champions Uruguay will go into the June 15-30 Confederations Cup welcoming the chance of another top level event.

They have reached the last four in five of the 11 World Cup tournaments they have played in.

Their problem has often been getting there, reaching play-offs in the last three World Cup qualifying series and scraping through in 2002 and 2010.

Tabarez has often said the hardest part of the World Cup is the qualifiers.

The Copa America, which they won a record 15th time with the 2011 victory in Argentina which earned them their berth in Brazil next month, came in a confederation, CONMEBOL, with only 10 members.

A Uruguay team boasting World Cup trio Luis Suarez, Diego Forlan and Edinson Cavani up front are formidable opponents for anyone and defence and midfield are not short of skilled players coming through like Nicolas Lodeiro and Gaston Ramirez.

The tournament should be a good place to give such fringe strikers as Abel Hernandez, Gonzalo Castro and Cristian Stuani more chances with Forlan past his best.

It is Uruguay's second participation in the competition after 1997 in Saudi Arabia where they finished fourth.

They will fancy their chances of reaching the semi-finals despite a tough opening match against world champions Spain in Recife in Group B.

Uruguay are spared a long journey south as they remain in the northeast for their matches against Nigeria in Salvador and Tahiti back in Recife.