Uruguay: World Cup 2014 Team Preview
Best Ever Finish: Winners (1930, 1950)
Manager: Oscar Tabarez
Captain: Diego Lugano
Oscar Tabarez has pulled Uruguay out of footballing obscurity, and into the forefront of the world stage.
After having to rely on a play-off win over Jordan, Uruguay are now one of the dark-horses to reach the latter stages.
La Celeste are capable of producing magical, inter-flowing football between their regular front three of Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan.
Ranked sixth in the world, they are able to trouble any team at the tournament with their explosive front three. Cavani is the battering ram and a stunning finisher. Suarez is the schemer, causing problems with his wonderful dribbling and phenomenal work-rate. And a newly resurgent Forlan can offer that x-factor.
However, with their unreliable defence, Uruguay tend to have an approach to games that is almost “we can score more than you”. If their strikers aren’t up to the task, this approach can be incredibly dangerous – as their five losses in qualifying demonstrate.
They remain a something of an unknown quality and as such it is hugely difficult to make an educated guess on what Tabarez’s team can achieve. Without the defensive soliditiy of the 2010 side though, it would be some effort if they were to repeat their fourth place finish from South Africa.
Key Player - Luis Suarez
Possessing pace, exquisite dribbling and a cool head in front of goal, Suarez is able to change the course of the game in an instant. Currently his country’s leading scorer of all time, he’ll line up on the right of Uruguay’s front three but has license to roam about the pitch.
After being linked with a big money move away from Liverpool all summer, Suarez decided to stay at the Anfield club, and see out the remainder of his 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic. Returning from his ban, he picked up from where he left off, scoring against 2 goals against Sunderland.
If Uruguay can capitalise on Suarez’s mercurial streak and willingness to chase every ball, he should make up for their distinct lack of attacking talent in midfield.