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FIFA World Cup 2018 team profile: Uruguay aim to restore past glory days

Uruguay are two-time world champions but the fact that they last won the tournament in 1950 is something that the current side would like to change in the FIFA World Cup 2018.

football Updated: Jun 02, 2018 22:28 IST
Shayne Dias
Shayne Dias
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
FIFA World Cup 2018,Fifa,World Cup 2018
How well Uruguay do at the 2018 Fifa World Cup will depend on how Luis Suarez does.(AFP)

Head coach: Oscar Tabarez

World Cup history: Qualified 12 times; best – champions (1930, 1950)

Qualifying route: Second in CONMEBOL qualification round (W9 D4 L5)

Squad (26-man preliminary): Goalkeepers - Fernando Muslera, Martin Silva, Martin Campana; Defenders - Diego Godin, Sebastian Coates, Jose Maria Gimenez, Maximiliano Pereira, Gaston Silva, Martin Caceres, Guillermo Varela; Midfielders - Nahitan Nandez, Lucas Torreira, Matias Vecino, Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentancur, Carlos Sanchez, Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Diego Laxalt, Cristian Rodriguez, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Nicolas Lodeiro, Gaston Ramirez; Forwards - Cristhian Stuani, Maximiliano Gomez, Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez.

The fact that the Uruguay national football team won the first ever FIFA World Cup is something that can never be taken away from La Celeste.

Then there’s the fact that they beat Brazil at the Marcana in 1950 in what remains one of the biggest upsets ever caused in the tournament.

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However, given that they have failed to win a World Cup since then, it’s safe to say the tiny South American nation eventually faded away from the conscience of the average football fan.

That is until 2010, where a combination of attacking football and the occasional bending of the rules saw them finish a respectable fourth in South Africa.

This led to a resurgence of the national team and they even won the Copa America in 2011 – their first triumph in the continental tournament in 16 years and their seventh overall.

Uruguay are without a doubt the strongest team in Group A of the FIFA World Cup 2018. Russia, despite being hosts, are unfancied.

Egypt and Saudi Arabia are countries that have struggled to replicate continental cup form into success on the world stage.

Uruguay surprised everyone by making it through to the round of sixteen in 2014, but their loss to Italy is more remembered for Suarez taking a bite out of Chiellini than anything else.

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There is undoubtedly plenty of talent in this side and it will be interesting to see if they can go the distance for the third time.

Three players to watch out for

Luis Suarez – As brilliant as he is controversial, the Barcelona striker is a lethal mix of industry, class and goals. His commitment can never be questioned – even though he can take it too far sometimes – and Uruguay would want him in top form for the tournament.

Edinson Cavani – Cavani at his best is the perfect modern striker; not just content to finish chances inside the box, El Matador as he is commonly known is physical, sublime and clinical when shooting. His pairing with Suarez will be a nightmare for any defence that has to face them.

Diego Godin – The Uruguay captain is a no-nonsense defender who has been capped more than 100 times for his country. Even at 32 he is a more than reliable presence at the back, with his physical style something most forwards find tough to deal with.

First Published: Jun 02, 2018 22:27 IST