Match ends, Uruguay 1, Northern Ireland 0.
Uruguay 1-0 Northern Ireland
England's World Cup opponents Uruguay laboured to a narrow win over a gutsy Northern Ireland side in Montevideo.
Christian Stuani's close-range strike in the 62nd minute gave the South Americans victory in front of more than 50,000 fans at the Estadio Centenario.
Northern Ireland, with just one win in 20 matches, will feel pleased with their creditable display against a team ranked sixth in the world.
England play Uruguay in their second Group D game on 19 June in Sao Paulo.
On this showing England manager Roy Hodgson may be encouraged, but he will know a low-key friendly is not the best guide to what will happen when the real competition starts.
Uruguay fielded a near full-strength team, the only notable absentees being Liverpool's Luis Suarez, who is recovering from a knee injury, and Atletico Madrid defender Diego Godin.
The hosts found it tough to get on top of an under-strength Northern Ireland team, although goalkeeper Roy Carroll had to make a superb double save in the 33rd minute to deny Uruguay.
The former Manchester United keeper, now with Greek club Olympiakos, stretched to get his left hand to Paris St-Germain striker Edinson Cavani's initial shot and, when the ball fell for Diego Forlan, Carroll was there again to block the low shot at the near post.
Carroll, 36, crashed into the frame of the goal but after treatment for a shoulder injury was able to continue.
Late in the half, Maxi Pereira flashed a shot over while Cavani fired into the side-netting after Carroll had almost lost a Forlan effort.
Northern Ireland continued to frustrate Uruguay after the break but the hosts forced the opener through Espanyol forward Stuani.
Southampton's Gaston Ramirez made the initial break on the left and, from his ball, Cavani played it into the six-yard box, where Stuani pounced to turn in from just a few yards out.
Northern Ireland did seem to tire in the last 15 minutes but, to their credit, they restricted the World Cup hopefuls to that solitary goal.
One of NI manager Michael O'Neill's substitutes in the second half was defender Ryan McLaughlin, who became the first Liverpool player to appear for Northern Ireland since goalkeeper Elisha Scott 78 years ago.
McLaughlin had a half chance in the 85th minute but lifted his shot well over from the right side of the box.
Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill: "Having seen Uruguay, I would expect England to beat them in Brazil. If England play with pace in the forward areas they will cause them real problems. I'll be honest, I think you can get at them.
"This is a good team, but it's heavily dependent on the front two, if you nullify them you can get opportunities against them.
"I haven't spoken to Roy (Hodgson) in the build-up, but if he wanted to call me or my assistant Billy McKinley, who he worked with at Fulham, there'd be no problem there. But I'm sure he doesn't need to, they will have had someone here and there'll be a dossier 250 pages thick."
- 16Pereira Páez
- 22CáceresSubstituted forPereiraat 72'minutes
- 17Arévalo Rios
- 3CoatesSubstituted forGiménezat 45'minutes
- 18RamírezSubstituted forLodeiroat 65'minutes
- 5GarganoBooked at 28minsSubstituted forPérezat 75'minutes
- 21CavaniSubstituted forHernándezat 65'minutes
- 10ForlánSubstituted forStuaniat 45'minutes
- 23M Silva
- 13EvansSubstituted forMcLaughlinat 87'minutes
- 11FergusonSubstituted forLaffertyat 80'minutes
- 16NorwoodBooked at 49minsSubstituted forSteeleat 86'minutes
- 10ClinganBooked at 55minsSubstituted forPatonat 74'minutes
- 9MckaySubstituted forMcLaughlinat 81'minutes
- 7McGinnSubstituted forMagennisat 61'minutes
- Leandro Vuaden
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Uruguay 1, Northern Ireland 0.
Foul by Diego Lugano (Uruguay).
Josh Magennis (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Egidio Arévalo Rios (Uruguay).
Ryan McLaughlin (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt saved. Ryan McLaughlin (Northern Ireland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Foul by Christian Stuani (Uruguay).
Steven Davis (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
José María Giménez (Uruguay) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Daniel Lafferty (Northern Ireland).
Corner, Northern Ireland. Conceded by Álvaro Pereira.
Substitution, Northern Ireland. Conor McLaughlin replaces Corry Evans.
Substitution, Northern Ireland. Jonathan Steele replaces Oliver Norwood.
Attempt missed. Ryan McLaughlin (Northern Ireland) right footed shot from the right side of the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Daniel Lafferty with a headed pass.
Dangerous play by Cristian Rodríguez (Uruguay).
Paul Paton (Northern Ireland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt blocked. Maxi Pereira (Uruguay) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Attempt blocked. Abel Hernández (Uruguay) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Cristian Rodríguez.
Substitution, Northern Ireland. Ryan McLaughlin replaces Billy McKay.