Uruguay will all the time maintain a particular place in World Cup historical past. They hosted and received the very first event in 1930 and maintain extra titles than Spain and England, and as many as France and Argentina, regardless of a inhabitants at present below 3.5 million folks.
This century alone, they’ve produced a number of the world’s greatest goalscorers in Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan. Suarez and Cavani are nonetheless going even now, each properly into their thirties, as is veteran centre-back Diego Godin and goalkeeper Fernando Muslera – all survivors from 2010 when La Celeste reached the semi-finals, albeit in controversial circumstances, and completed fourth.
However this Uruguay technology has a great mix of youth and expertise, with loads of these within the squad – like Manchester United expertise Facundo Pellistri – of their early to mid-twenties.
That is additionally the primary time since since 2002 that Uruguay have been to a World Cup with out legendary former supervisor Oscar Tabarez, who was lastly let go final 12 months due to poor outcomes throughout qualifying. Former Inter Miami coach Diego Alonso is now the person in cost.
Group H has the potential to throw up one of many extra tasty clashes of the primary spherical when Uruguay meet Ghana for the primary time since 2010. That earlier encounter stays one of many World Cup’s most notorious video games, with Luis Suarez utilizing his fingers to dam a sure Ghana winner on the very finish of extra-time, Asamoah Gyan lacking the following penalty after which Uruguay prevailing in a shootout to disclaim Ghana a spot in historical past as Africa’s first ever semi-finalists.
Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Sebastian Sosa (Independiente), Sergio Rochet (Nacional)
Defenders: Jose Gimenez (Atletico Madrid), Diego Godin (Velez Sarsfield), Ronald Araujo (Barcelona), Guillermo Varela (Flamengo), Mathias Olivera (Napoli), Matias Vina (Roma), Sebastian Coates (Sporting CP), Martin Caceres (LA Galaxy), Jose Luis Rodriguez (Nacional)
Midfielders: Matias Vecino (Lazio), Rodrigo Bentancur (Tottenham), Nicolas de la Cruz (River Plate), Giorgian de Arrascaeta (Flamengo), Lucas Torreira (Galatasaray), Federico Valverde (Actual Madrid), Manuel Ugarte (Sporting CP)
Forwards: Facundo Pellistri (Man Utd), Luis Suarez (Nacional), Darwin Nunez (Liverpool), Maxi Gomez (Trabzonspor), Facundo Torres (Orlando Metropolis), Edinson Cavani (Valencia), Agustin Canobbio (Athletico Paranaense)
Uruguay have not been compelled to omit anybody main from the squad due to damage, though Edinson Cavani missed Valencia’s final two video games earlier than the World Cup break started. Choosing Ronald Araujo may also be gamble because the Barcelona defender has been out since present process thigh muscle surgical procedure in September that seemed like it might rule him out of competition right here.
36-year-old Cristhian Stuani has missed out, regardless of a good return for Girona in La Liga this season.
He could also be almost 36, previous his peak and getting ready for the fourth and last World Cup of his profession, however Luis Suarez is one the best gamers of his technology and nobody dare underestimate the previous Liverpool, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid star.
Suarez has been taking part in his membership soccer again residence in Uruguay with first skilled membership Nacional since July and has scored eight instances in 14 video games for them.
As Suarez and Edinson Cavani put together to bow out after Qatar, the subsequent Uruguay’s subsequent star striker is able to step up. This can be a first World Cup for £85m Darwin Nunez, who has nonetheless posted spectacular numbers for Liverpool regardless of a a lot publicised powerful begin.
The 23-year-old, and that is nonetheless all he’s, is prone to begin and a minimum of marked his final Uruguay look with a primary worldwide objective in almost two years in victory over Canada.
Federico Valverde has been considered one of Actual Madrid’s greatest and most essential gamers during the last 18 months and that’s no imply feat in a staff that features 2021 Ballon d’Or Karim Benzema, in addition to Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Thibaut Courtois.
Having excelled as a winger at membership stage in current instances, he has typically performed in midfield for Uruguay too. He has the flexibility and ability to do both simply as properly.
As soon as the apprentice and now the grasp, it’s telling that Atletico Madrid have misplaced 4 instances in La Liga when Jose Gimenez hasn’t began this season and by no means when he has. With former clubmate Diego Godin nonetheless going robust at 36, it guarantees to make Uruguay troublesome to interrupt down.
The centre-back is equally essential for Uruguay, though a again damage in September that he has since recovered from means he hasn’t truly performed worldwide soccer since June.
Two stable banks of 4 each provides Uruguay the tactical solidity they’re recognized for, whereas on the identical time with the ability to accomodate two strikers. However they’ve the flexibility to change it as much as both 4-3-3 or 3-5-2 relying on the sport. That would come in useful towards three very completely different group stage opponents.
Uruguay predicted XI (4-4-2): Muslera; Varela, Godin, Gimenez, Olivera; Valverde, Vecino, Bentancur, De Arrescaeta; Nunez, Suarez
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A shock defeat towards Iran apart, Uruguay have been in respectable type in 2022. Defensive solidity is their massive energy and so they have solely conceded twice in 9 video games to date this calendar 12 months.
Following Oscar Tabarez’s dismissal a 12 months in the past, they completed the qualifying strongly by placing collectively 4 consecutive wins over Paraguay, Venezuela, Peru and Chile to e book a spot in Qatar that had beforehand seemed doubtful.
They’ve lacked a lot in the way in which of numerous assessments, nevertheless. The Iran recreation performed in Austria in September is oddly the one time since earlier than the Covid-19 pandemic that Uruguay have performed both exterior of the Americas or towards a non-South/North/Central American opponent.
Uruguay’s final 5 outcomes (all competitions)
Canada 0-2 Uruguay
Iran 1-0 Uruguay
Uruguay 5-0 Panama
USA 0-0 Uruguay
Mexico 0-3 Uruguay
Group H will not be the simplest as a result of each South Korea and Ghana have proven at earlier World Cups that they’re able to rocking the boat. Ghana might even carry additional motivation as they attempt to enact revenge for 2010. However Uruguay, with all of the expertise and expertise they’ve, will likely be anticipated to progress to the knockouts and possibly even high the standings forward of Portugal.
That would arrange a probable final 16 encounter with Switzerland, which once more is a beneficial recreation for a Uruguay facet this good and properly drilled. Going a lot additional when the competitors will get far stronger may be a stretch. That being mentioned, if you happen to’re in search of a darkish horse, Uruguay could possibly be it.