We continue with our “Team Talks” for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in group A. In this third part, we will discuss about former 2-time World Cup Champions Uruguay.
Team : URUGUAY
Coach: Oscar Tabarez
Captain: Diego Godin
Nickname(s): La Celeste
Last Qualified in: 2014
Result in 2014: Eliminated in the Pre-Quarter Finals (12th overall)
Qualified as: CONMEBOL Round Robin Runner Up (10 October 2017)
Previous World Cup Appearances: (12 Times) 1930, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1986, 1990, 2002, 2010, 2014.
Best World Cup Finals Result: Champions in 1930 and 1950.
Fernando Muslera, Martin Silva, Martin Campana, Diego Godin, Sebastian Coates, Jose Maria Gimenez, Maxi Pereira, Gaston Silva, Martin Caceres, Guillermo Varela, 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, Cristhian Stuani, Maximiliano Gomez, Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez.
1) Fernando Muslera:
The Galatasaray goalkeeper has been the Uruguay number 1 ever since he impressed all and sundry in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The 31-year old has made 96 appearances for the Latin American Giants, and has been part of Uruguay’s Copa America winning squad and the 2010 World Cup 4th placed team. The former Lazio man will be standing under the bar in Uruguay’s challenge to the knockout stages and beyond, where he will be making his 100th national appearance.
2) Diego Godin:
The 32-year old central defender has been a regular at the heart of Uruguay and Atlético Madrid since 2010 and has made 247 appearances for the 2018 UEFA Europa League Champions. The second highest capped Uruguayan player with 116 caps, will be leading a very balanced Uruguay side at Russia this summer. He will also be tasked with the defensive responsibilities for La Celeste.
3) Maxi Pereira:
The 33-year old Uruguayan right back will be the oldest outfield player for the 2011 Copa America Champions. The 124 cap veteran is the highest capped Uruguayan player in history. The former Benfica and Porto full back will be looking to bow out in style, considering this will be his last appearance at the big stage.
4) Matias Vecino:
The Inter midfielder is still in his early days for the national side. After some deteriorating form in the middle part of the season, the 26-year old came back strongly toward the later part of the season. He scored the winning goal against Lazio, that sent Inter to the UCL group stages for the first time since 2011. The young midfielder will be crucial for the midfield battle of the Uruguayans.
5) Edinson Cavani:
The Paris Saint Germain forward has been in red hot form this season scoring 40 goals in 47 appearances, 28 of them coming in 32 league appearances. The all-time leading scorer for the French champions will be one of the two main targets for goals. The highest scorer in the CONMEBOL qualifiers will be surely looking to add to his 2 world cup goals at Russia.
6) Luis Suarez:
If having Edinson Cavani upfront alone will not be thwarting enough for the opponents, Oscar Tabarez’s side has one Luis Suarez to add. Considered to be one of the best strikers in recent times, the Barcelona man will be hoping to be at his lethal best, while combining up with his strike partner to terrorize rival defences.
The Uruguay National Team have been in mixed form of late. In their last 10 international matches they have won four times against the likes of Paraguay and Bolivia; and beat Czech Republic and Wales in their last 2 matches. They have drawn and lost thrice each in the meantime. They won their last match against Wales in a March Friendly.
Uruguay have been drawn in Group A alongside hosts Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. They will play Egypt in their opening match on 15th of June, followed by Saudi Arabia and Russia on 20th and 25th June respectively.
Drawn in a group with hosts Russia, African powerhouse Egypt and Saudi Arabia (who are capable of a few upsets), Uruguay are favourites to progress as group winners from Group A. In the first knockout-round, a possible encounter with Spain or Portugal is imminent, and Uruguay will still have a very good chance of making it to the quarters, where they’ll possibly have to face France.
Uruguayan centre forward Hector Castro scored the 4th and the final goal in the 1930 FIFA World Cup final, which ensured the inaugural hosts as the inaugural champions. While he was still 13, he had to be amputated after accidentally cutting off his right arm with a saw and he played in his entire career “with one arm”. He was thus nicknamed “El manco” meaning “the one-armed”, or “the maimed” by the fans.
How far do you think Uruguay will progress in this World Cup? Comment below!
Photo by jikatu