Placed in Group A also featuring Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Russia
Uruguay vs Egypt, June 15, at 5.30 pm (Yekaterinburg)
Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia, June 20, at 8.30 pm (Rostov-on-Don)
Uruguay vs Russia, June 25, at 7.30 pm (Samara)
FIFA ranking: 14
Previous World Cup: Lost to Colombia in the round of 16
Last appearance: 2014 (Lost in round of 16)
Best finish: Champion (1930, 1950)
Star players: Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin, Matias Vecino, Jose Maria Gimenez
Coach: Oscar Tabarez
When you think of Uruguay and the World Cup, only one memory comes back from the 2014 edition of the tournament. And that is the infamous case of Luis Suarez being expelled from tournament in disgrace for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini. That was four years back and with this edition just around the corner, Uruguay will focus to keep their star striker tamed. And with Suarez promising to undo the mistake the Uruguay side will be a formidable one.
Uruguay has the team to reach the business end of the tournament. They have the perfect blend of youth and experience. While the team has seasoned players like Suarez, Cavani and skipper Diego Godin in the line-up, there young players have also peaked at the correct time, with the likes of 20-year-old Rodrigo Bentancur and 22-year-old Nahitan Nandez adding weight to the midfield.
The biggest strength of coach Tabarez’s team lies in their attack. Uruguay will not be short of goals. The team’s greatest weapon is their strikers. The country’s all-time leading scorer Suarez (51 goals), is in prime form and has enjoyed a great season with La Liga champions Barcelona. And he is well supported by Cavani, who is the second-highest scorer with 42 goals to his name. Add to that the partnership of Godin and Jose Giminez - the heart of the team’s defence.
While the team heads into the World Cup as a well-balanced outfit manager Tabarez still has a few areas of concern. The midfield’s attacking quality has always been an edgy area. There is no question about the defensive skills of the unit, but the midfielders have more than often failed to create chances. But that has more or less been solved by Tabarez during the qualifiers when he called up youngsters Nandez and Bentancur, who hugely improved this area. But they are still young and inexperienced as they only have a few games under their belt. If they can find the correct balance they should be a dominant force on the field.
Uruguay will surely be an exciting team to watch in action. Also, with Suarez, the World Cup villain in the side, who is also the most talented in the team, the matches promise to be mouthwatering.
Prediction: Placed in probably the weakest group in the World Cup, Group A, Uruguay will definitely wreak havoc in the group stage and could possibly go the distance as well, i.e if star striker Suarez is on his best behaviour, of course!