Uruguay - World Cup 2014 Team Profile
Nick Spiller reports
Road to Brazil
After a 2011 Copa America victory, Uruguay struggled in CONMEBOL 2014 World Cup qualifying, finishing 5th of the South American nations. This required a playoff matchup with Jordan, who Uruguay easily dispatched in a 5-0 aggregate victory, with all the goals coming in the away leg.
Uruguay Kit 1
Uruguay Kit 2
Uruguay was the surprise team of the 2010 World Cup, making a dazzling run all the way to the semifinals led by the creative wizardry of Diego Forlan, the tournament's Golden Ball winner.
Now the goal-scoring duties will fall upon two younger strikers Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Both players are world-class, giving Uruguay one of the finest attacking groups at the World Cup.
However, the rest of the team doesn't have the same game-changing ability. There are several solid veteran footballers like goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, defender and captain Diego Lugano, and a trio of Atletico Madrid players - Cristian Rodriguez, Jose Maria Gimenez, and Diego Godin.
Remember that Atletico recently won La Liga, in spite of the presence of such teams as Barcelona and Real Madrid. Another interesting player is the young midfielder Gaston Ramirez, who had a tremendous 2012 Olympic campaign, but has faded, after a good start, since his transfer to Southampton in the English Premiership.
While their recent history has been tremendous, Uruguay would love nothing more than to cap it off with a 2014 World Cup title. Remember, this side actually stunned the world by lifting the cup in 1950, the last time Brazil hosted the World Cup.
Key player: Luis Suarez
As controversial as he is talented, Suarez scored a boatload of goals for Liverpool this year, proving that he is as skilled as any striker around! However, he has a tendency for the controversial, so who knows how this story will end.
One to watch: Diego Forlan
While age is certainly beginning to catch up with the 35 year old forward, his veteran leadership and presence should help guys like Ramirez, Suarez, and Cavani stay composed throughout the tournament. He also has undeniable skill and vision on the ball. Now plays his football with Cerezo Osaka in the J-League.
Coach: Oscar Tabarez
Oscar Tabarez has been coaching various teams and clubs for over 30 years and has been in charge of the Uruguayan resurgence since 2006. Tabarez is very flexible with his formations though the team tends to emphasize deep-lying defense while his attacking trio has the talent to create chances going forward.
1962, 1974, 2002 First Round; 1986, 1990 Second Round; 1966 Quarterfinals; 1954, 1970, 2010 Fourth Place; 1930, 1950 Champions.
With an exciting group of forwards, Uruguay will be one of the most entertaining sides present at the 2014 World Cup. However, due to their shaky qualifying campaign, the team is stuck in a group featuring World Cup heavyweights Italy and England. One of these three teams will go home sourly disappointed after a group stage exit.
Uruguay does have a few things working in their favor: The tournament is being held near to their home country, so there should be a large fan support for the team. Additionally, their recent success at major tournaments will give them confidence and experience succeeding under pressure, unlike perennial disappointers England. Lastly, several Brazilian based members of the squad will help the team acclimate to the surroundings of the host country.Should they emerge from Group D, Uruguay will be a dark horse contender for the title. They have won the World Cup (though long before any of their squad was born), so there will be a sense of belief in their possibilities. Despite all this I foresee the team reaching the quarterfinals but ultimately falling at the hands of a genuine contender like Brazil or Spain.
2014 World Cup Squad
Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Rodrigo Munoz (Libertad), Martin Silva (Vasco da Gama)
Defenders: Diego Lugano (Unattached), Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid), Jose Maria GImenez (Atletico Madrid), Jorge Fucile (Porto), Sebastian Coates (Liverpool), Martin Caceres (Juventus), Maxi Pereira (Benfica)
Midfielders: Walter Gargano (Parma), Cristian Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid), Alvaro Pereira (Sao Paulo), Diego Perez (Bologna), Nicolas Lodeiro (Corinthians), Egidio Arevalo Rios (UANL), Alvaro Gonzalez (Lazio), Gaston Ramirez (Shouthampton)
Strikers: Abel Hernandez (Palermo), Diego Forlan (Cerezo Osaka), Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Edinson Cavani (PSG), Christian Stuani (Espanyol)