At the 2010 World Cup Uruguay finished fourth with a squad that featured the best player in the tournament, Diego Forlan. Now four years later they have hopes of using a counter-attacking style to go even further. The majority of their talent lies in the final third. There is no doubt they have the ability to score, but can they defend and get the ball to the strikers? They will have to build on their teamwork to match or better their last finish at the World Cup.
The road to Brazil hit a snag last month when the Uruguay Football Association board resigned. The reason behind it is apparently the Uruguayan government’s decision to withdraw police protection at matches involving the country’s big clubs Peñarol and Nacional because of fan violence. Media reports suggested this infraction could jeopardize Uruguay’s spot in the World Cup. Governmental interference in football matters is a gray area in the FIFA guidelines. FIFA officials have never confirmed even an investigation into the matter.
Uruguay is currently ranked fifth in the world rankings, which is just ahead of Italy in their group. Coach Óscar Tabárez has built a club with his ability to nurture young players and worked on unity. While the players may like each other and feel good with the coaching philosophy, there are still questions outside of the attackers. Tabárez will have to take his unity talks and transform them into cohesion on the field.
The attack is led by Luis Suarez who is on his own planet right now. Suarez has a great connection with Raheem Sterling and Daniel Sturridge at Liverpool, but now he will have to jive with Edison Cavani. They are both world class players. Suarez can capitalize on the smallest of shooting windows. Their talent alone could overwhelm opposing defenders.
Forlan is expected to start in a reserve role in the World Cup. These three will be the goal scorers as no other player had more than nine shots in the qualifying run for Uruguay. They did have to win a playoff over Jordan to get into the World Cup.
Uruguay has a lot of experience across the board at the international level and the midfield is a prime example of that as every player expected in Brazil will have at least 25 caps. However, some see the drop off from the top tier to the next level as severe. Diego Perez is the elder-statesmen in the middle and Cristian Rodríguez has shown some attacking form.
Max Pereira will be a name familiar to those that watched the 2010 World Cup. He played every game for Uruguay. His team advanced despite Pereira missing a penalty kick against Ghana.
There is a lot of flexibility in defense with several players being able to move across the back line. It may behoove the team to find permanent positions for the back four. Martin Caceres is well known for his passing skills but it is unclear where he will slot in.
Caceres will be depended upon, but the defense is led by captain Diego Lugano of West Bromwich Albion. However, he has not been getting playing time and picked up a knee injury in March.
Uruguay has plenty of experience, but their qualifying was not convincing. Suarez has the ability to steal a game just by capitalizing on one small mistake by the opponent. However, they are in a tricky group with England’s confidence growing and Italy always expected in the knockout stage. The match up with Costa Rica could be a bit of a tactical conundrum. Italy and Uruguay play the last match in the group. Expect the top two to be undecided heading into the last group matches.
Italy should win the group with the second spot coming down to England and Uruguay. Agreeing with a piece linked below, Uruguay will go home early and miss the knockouts.