Uruguay name Northern Ireland as World Cup warm-up opponents

Luis Suarez will face Northern Ireland in World Cup warm-up
Luis Suarez will face Northern Ireland in World Cup warm-up

England's World Cup opponents Uruguay will prepare for the tournament with a friendly against Northern Ireland.

The South American side face England in Group D in Sao Paulo on 19 June and wanted to play European opposition before meeting Roy Hodgson's team.

With so many of Michael O'Neill's NI side based in Britain, they are regarded as a good match for England, albeit lower down the Fifa rankings.

The game will take place on 30 May in Montevideo.

The teams last met in New Jersey in 2006, when Uruguay won 1-0.

That friendly fixture was current Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez's first match in charge.

The South Americans' warm-up programme includes fixtures against Austria in Klagenfurt on 5 May and Slovenia in Montevideo on 4 June, and they will now host O'Neill's side in between.

Uruguay, led by Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, will face Italy and Costa Rica, as well as England, in Group D.

Northern Ireland will use the friendly as a warm-up for the Euro 2016 qualifiers, which start 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," said Irish FA president Jim Shaw.

Northern Ireland's next game will be a friendly against Cyprus on 5 March.