After finishing second in the always competitive South American qualifying campaign, Uruguay head to the World Cup with a quiet optimism.
Oscar Tabarez’s men boast two world-class centre forwards, arguably the best defender in the global game and a squad brimming with international experience.
With a pool of modest opponents to play in Group A also, Uruguay will look to progress to the knockout stages and make an impression in Russia.
Uruguay’s 2018 World Cup Group Matches
Egypt vs Uruguay, 15 June 2018, 1pm UK time
Uruguay vs Saudi Arabia, 20 June 2018, 4pm UK time
Uruguay vs Russia, 25 June 2018, 3pm UK time
Uruguay 2018 World Cup Squad
There are no surprises in the Uruguay squad for the competition, with the majority of the selected players part of the senior set-up for a considerable amount of time.
Superstar centre forwards Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani are the obvious headline makers, while Atletico Madrid duo Diego Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez will marshal the Celeste defence.
Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera, Martin Silva, Martin Campana
Defenders: Diego Godin, Sebastian Coates, Jose Maria Gimenez, Maximiliano Pereira, Gaston Silva, Martin Caceres, Guillermo Varela
Midfielders: 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
Forwards: Cristhian Stuani, Maximiliano Gomez, Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez
Uruguay’s squad has virtually picked itself, with injury to Alvaro Pereira the only minor blight on the selection process.
Strikers Abel Hernandez and Diego Rolan miss out due to the quality the South American nation possesses in attacking areas.
Uruguay’s World Cup Manager: Oscar Tabarez
Veteran Tabarez has been in charge of the Uruguayan national side since 2006, with this competition surely the last hurrah for the 71-year-old.
The experienced trainer has done a major job in bringing Uruguay to the forefront of the global game, leading the country to a fourth-placed World Cup finish in South Africa in 2010 and winning the Copa America in 2011.
Tabarez’s familiarity with his players will be an advantage for Uruguay but it remains to be seen whether the long-serving coach will continue picking older heads in certain positions or look to bring in more youthful options.
Expected Formation & Tactics
Uruguay will field a bespoke 4-4-2 formation at the World Cup, with Cavani and Suarez leading the line.
While both operate as number nines for their respective clubs, the Barcelona man looks to drop slightly deeper to link play for his country.
Uruguay boast a tough-tackling central midfield, with Inter Milan’s Matias Vecino in the side to try and win back possession and spring counter attacks.
In wider areas, the Celeste have traditionally played with attacking full-backs but the personnel available to Tabarez in these position is ageing.
Uruguay’s Key Player – Luis Suarez
While Godin is a lynchpin at the back, Uruguay will be dependant on Suarez to provide the firepower needed for the side to make an impression in Russia.
The South Americans will be confident of making it through Group A, but will most likely face Spain or Portugal in the next round – where the Barcelona forward will be asked to inspire from the front.
At 31 this could be Suarez’s last World Cup but there is little contesting the fact that he is a world-class centre forward on his day.
How he links up with Cavani, who plays in a similar fashion to him at club level, will dictate just how dangerous Uruguay are in Russia.
Uruguay’s Wild Card – Rodrigo Bentancur
Uruguay have a handful of impressive young players coming through the ranks and ready to take over the reins of the national side – none more so than Rodrigo Bentancur.
The technically gifted midfielder excelled in the national under-20’s outfit and for Boca Juniors in Argentina, earning a high-profile move to Italian giants Juventus last year as a result.
While competition for places in Turin is intense, Bentancur has held his own and featured in Serie A and the Champions League throughout 2017-18.
Whether he starts for Uruguay or not at the World Cup remains to be seen, but the 20-year-old’s range of passing and ability on the ball could be crucial in providing chances for Suarez and Cavani.
Uruguay – World Cup Prediction
On any given day, Uruguay have the potential to beat anyone in the competition due to their attacking talent and experience.
However, consistency has been the issue for Tabarez’s men in recent years and could again be their downfall in Russia.
Uruguay will be favourites to win Group A but with ominous potential opponents awaiting them in the round of 16, that may be as far as they get.