Uruguay are historically one of the mainstays in World Cup tournaments. The South American team has won this event twice, in 1930 and 1950, which underlines their credentials as one of the big boys, if not the favourites.
Even though La Celeste might not be the favourites to win this tournament, they have players who can set the big stage alight. So, despite being the dark horses, they would be expected to go far in the tournament. Russia would be a bit alien for some of the players in terms of conditions but they have the experience to cope with it.
The Uruguayan teams of the past and present mostly play a rigid 4-4-2 formation under their “father figure” coach Oscar Tabarez. In 2014, they struggled to score goals because of the absence of their star man Luis Suarez for 2 of the 4 games they played. In the one game he played against England, Suarez scored two goals to lead his country to victory.
This time, Uruguay are in Group A with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Russia. So, they would be expected to go through the group stage without many hiccups. Their opening game against Egypt can provide the challenge they’d expect in the knockout phase.
Oscar Tabarez is a very pragmatic manager and very well knows how to get the best out of his players. By playing a rigid 4-4-2 system, the defence is rock solid with two banks of four and counter-attack is always a weapon with likes of Edinson Cavani and Suarez up top, supported by Christian Rodriguez and Nahitan Nandez.
They have kept 8 clean sheets in 18 qualifying games for the World Cup, finishing 2nd behind Brazil. This clearly means La Celeste are a hard team to beat and have the required threat in their attack to hurt the opposition.
The defensive pair of Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez is very experienced as a duo. They also play together for Atletico Madrid, a team which plays a similar system in Spain.
With Luis Suarez, they are a very good proposition and never short of goals. However, without him, they generally struggle.
They lost both the games in the previous World Cup without their star striker, which underlines the fact that the reliance on the Barcelona striker is very high. This can turn into a weakness if the striker is not in his full rhythm or is injured.
Oscar Tabarez is a very experienced manager, who has led his country in 3 World Cups. This would be his fourth. The tactical nuance of the highest order and getting the best out of his squad players are some of his expertise. He knows what it is like to manage a team in the World Cup and has a very talented squad to work his magic.
World Cup History
Uruguay’s World Cup history is quite illustrious. They won the inaugural event at home back in 1930 before winning it again in 1950. This is their third consecutive appearance on the big stage since playing four times in a row between 1962 and 1974.
They have been the semifinalists three times, in 1954, 1970 and most recently, in 2010. This clearly shows that they have the know-how to get the results when it matters.
You can’t hide away from the fact that Luis Suarez is Uruguay’s talisman this year too. Without him, they don’t look the same. His scoring and creating abilities will sure have a huge part in what the La Celeste do in Russia. Along with him, Cavani will also play a pivotal role for them.
Uruguay are not one of the real favourites to win the tournament but we cannot deny the fact that they are one of the dark horses. They have the required quality to cause damage to even the best teams. This might well be Suarez, Cavani and Godin’s last World Cup for their country. These three talismanic figures would be looking to give it their all to do well in Russia.