Often overlooked when considering the greatest nations from South America, but Uruguay have won just as many World Cups as Argentina and came 4th in the previous tournament, 2010’s finals in South Africa. Albeit through a fairly easy path by World Cup finals standards.
In their group they faced a very ineffective France side who were in the middle of turmoil, hosts South Africa, as well as Mexico. They topped the group with 2 wins and a draw. Then they faced South Korea and Ghana to reach the semi-finals, where their train was derailed by losing finalists, Netherlands.
Known by some of the English team from his time at Manchester United. At 35 he is past his best but the skills he possesses and his level-headed experience on the big stage will still be invaluable to Óscar Tabárez’s side.
Forlan now plays his club football at Cerezo Osaka, a top 4 side in Japan’s J-League, where he may close out a career that included 3 years at Manchester United as well as a very successful 3 years at Atletico Madrid.
This Paris Saint-Germain striker can be very difficult to contain and Gary Cahill will need to be instructed by Hodgson to try and keep Cavani in his pocket. He scored the first goal in Uruguay’s 2-0 win over Slovenia the other day, heading home Diego Forlan’s neat cross.
Playing at the same side as Ibrahimovic has slightly tamed his goal-scoring tally but he still scored 16 for the French giants in his first season. He joined PSG during the close season last year, coming from Napoli on the back of 3 consecutive 30+ goal seasons.
The 27-year-old can be almost as lethal as Suarez up front, so will definitely need to be contained.
This Atletico Madrid center-back had a season of Epic proportions in Spain, performing exceptionally to keep things solid at the back and lead them to the Spanish title. Godin is strong in the air and will need to be marked closely on corners and set pieces when he ventures forward.
The 28-year-old will make life tough for the likes of Rooney and Sturridge to break through, guarding his keeper well and forming part of an organized back line.
Best of the rest
Martin Caceres of Juventus is also a very big name for them in defence and Galatasaray goal-keeper, Fernando Muslera, is going to be difficult to beat as a quality shot stopper who also commands his area well.
They also have Inter Milan’s Álvaro Pereira and Benfica’s Maxi Pereira who may play as wing-backs, both of which possess strong attacking instincts that England will need to close down effectively when they push forward, not particularly seen as one of England’s strengths.
Another fact England will need to remember: The last time the World Cup finals took place in Brazil, Uruguay were crowned as the competition’s winners.