World Cup 2018: Uruguay Preview

Uruguay disappointed in Brazil as they were knocked out in the last 16 by Columbia, they will be desperate to do better this time around.


Reuters/ANDRES STAPFF

Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani make up one of the most potent strike forces at the World Cup as Uruguay aims to pull up some trees at this summers competition. 

Defensively, captain Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez will offer a rock-solid foundation just like they do for Atletico Madrid to make sure that Uruguay are difficult to beat.

They are led by coach Oscar Tabarez who has been in charge since 2006. He has led them to 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups and won the Copa America in 2011 making him one of the more experienced coaches at this competition. 

In 2010, Uruguay infamously defeated Ghana to reach the semi-finals of the competition after knocking Ghana out on penalties. A repeat performance this time around would make this a stunning campaign. 

Road to Russia

Nine wins, four draws, and five defeats were enough for Uruguay to finish second with 31 points in the South American qualification table

They had top scorer Edinson Cavani to thank for his ten goals as he led the competition regarding goals, finishing three ahead of Leo Messi. 

In qualifying, Uruguay lost just one home game, 4-1 to Brazil, and won seven others while drawing just one. 

The most impressive results in qualifying 3-0 and 1-0 against Argentina, 3-0 against Colombia and 2-2 away at Brazil.

Starting XI

Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez will surely lead the line for Uruguay while Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez will similarly lead the back four.

In midfield, expect Boca Juniors star Nahitan Nandez to flourish with veteran Christian Rodriguez and 24-year-old Giorgian De Arrascaeta. 

Uruguay have one of the deeper squads at this World Cup and can rely upon both youth and experience to get them through. 

Key player: Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez is a handful for any opponent and Uruguay have the privilege of having him on their side. 

Remember 2010 when he literally saved a shot on the line with his hand to give his team a chance of qualifying?

Reuters/ANDRES STAPFF

That is the sort of character that you need in your team. Suarez quite literally has everything from trickery, finishing, composure, strength and even pace. 

He is the complete striker and Uruguay will know his performances will probably determine how far they can go this summer. 

Group Stage

Group A is arguably the weakest group at the World Cup with Saudi Arabia and Egypt plus hosts Russia who have not won a game since October 2017. 

Uruguay begins with Egypt before facing Saudi Arabia and finishing with hosts Russia.

REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

They should not really run into any problems although if Mohamed Salah is fit and Russia get the hosting buzz then they could have a sticky situation on their hands.

Ultimately though, firsts place should be their target and they should not struggle to achieve it. 

Prediction: Quarter-Final exit

Uruguay should get through the groups as winners and, if they do, they are likely to face Portugal or Spain – not an easy task.

Spain should win group B, Uruguay will get Portugal in the Round of 16: a difficult but winnable tie.

In the quarters, they will probably face France or Croatia which could prove a step too far. That being said, this team does possess the quality to get past any team in this competition.

But, realistically, the quarter-finals should be the aim for Uruguay. 

Listen to the RealSport football writers discuss Group A in Kremlins in the Basement: RealSport’s daily World Cup podcast.

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Connor Bromley

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Connor Bromley is a Freelance journalist who covers the NHL and football. If there is a ball or puck being played with then he is covering it!

Also sub-editor for football.

Twitter: @ConnorBromley

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