Uruguay World Cup profile
FootyOn’s Uruguay World Cup profile looks at the two-time winners in detail.
Uruguay were the first-ever World Cup winners, lifting the trophy on home soil in the inaugural tournament in 1930.
Just 13 teams competed at that initial edition, so the World Cup as we know it today is very different.
How will the South Americans fare in Russia? Our Uruguay World Cup profile assesses their chances.
How did they qualify?
As runners-up in the CONMEBOL confederation super group, Uruguay finished 10 points behind pool winners Brazil.
Only the top four South American teams were guaranteed places at the World Cup finals, and they now compete in Group A at the tournament proper.
Previous World Cup record
Winners in 1930 and 1950, La Celeste have never been victorious at a World Cup outside South America.
Their best displays on this grandest stage since are three fourth place finishes in 1954, 1970 and notably 2010 under the current coach.
Uruguay followed-up on reaching the World Cup semi-finals in South Africa by lifting the Copa America for a fourth time the following year.
They are 15-time champions of South America, but almost half of those successes came before the Second World War.
FIFA World Ranking: 17
A ranking of 17th in the world is lower than Uruguay’s position before the last two World Cups.
La Celeste struggled to defend their Copa America crown in 2015 because star striker Luis Suarez was banned (more on that below) and injured for the centenary tournament the following year.
Their current ranking made them dangerous second seeds in the World Cup finals draw and that may prove so.
Manager: Oscar Tabarez
Uruguay boss Oscar Tabarez has steered his country to a fourth (and third consecutive) World Cup finals.
Returning to this role in 2006 after previously being in charge from 1988 to 1990, he’s coached La Celeste for nearly 200 games.
Few international managers can boast that sort of experience and nobody has had more matches in charge of a single nation than Tabarez.
That 2011 Copa America triumph was his crowning glory, but he also won an Argentine league title with Boca Juniors in 1992.
The 2018 World Cup in Russia will be the 10th major tournament Tabarez has taken Uruguay to.
Key players: Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez
When half of your 32 goals in World Cup qualifying are scored by the strikeforce, there’s no way of mentioning one without the other.
Luis Suarez treads that fine line between genius and madness, creating infamy at the last World Cup when biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini.
Suarez received a lengthy competitive international ban for getting his teeth into the Azzurri stalwart, but returned to the fold since and became Uruguay’s all-time top goalscorer.
Surpassing contemporary Diego Forlan, Suarez netted six in qualifying and laid on eight others.
In his absence, Edinson Cavani took the goal burden upon himself and scored 10 times in the campaign.
Nobody can say the PSG poacher is second fiddle to anyone anymore, as Uruguay pair Cavani and Suarez (both 5/4 chances with BetVictor to be their country’s top scorer at the tournament and 25/1 apiece outright) up front if both are fit.
Rising star: Rodrigo Bentancur
Juventus new boy Rodrigo Bentancur has been earmarked for Serie A stardom for some time.
When Carlos Tevez left Turin in 2015, the Old Lady wanted first refusal on Boca Juniors’ exciting young talents.
Among those was Bentancur and he officially joined Juve this summer.
Arriving at the Italian champions following big money midfield departures year-on-year (Mario Lemina, Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal), Massimiliano Allegri pressed Bentancur into service straight away.
He is a versatile engine room operator, adept at breaking up play and starting attack.
Such all-round midfield talent stands Bentacur in good stead for both Juve and Uruguay.
Expect La Celeste to set-up in such a way that they get the best out of Suarez and Cavani up top.
If you’re lucky enough to have two of the best forwards in Uruguay history, then Tabarez must play to their strengths.
A settled back four of veteran full back Maxi Pereira, skipper Diego Godin and fellow Atletico Madrid defender Jose Maria Gimenez, with Gaston Silva on the left looks likely.
Long-serving stopper Fernando Muslera is still number one, so it’s only midfield selection where spots appear open.
Uruguay tend to play 4-4-2 or a midfield diamond these days, though sufficient flexibility remains in their roster to play with three centre halves and wing backs.
Group and betting
It’s Group A for La Celeste at the World Cup finals.
They face Egypt, Saudi Arabia and tournament hosts Russia in that order in this pool.
That makes for a perfectly winnable group and Paddy Power are evens about Uruguay finishing top.
BetVictor, meanwhile, have a book on their stage of elimination.
La Celeste are 6/5 fancies for a last 16 exit and 11/4 to lose in the quarter-finals.
A group stage elimination is a 7/2 chance, while a repeat of 2010 and making the semis is 8/1.
And as for an outright World Cup win, Paddy Power cut Uruguay to 30/1 (from 40/1) following the draw.
More from FootyOn
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