An incredible qualification campaign in the CONMEBOL qualification process Uruguay qualified for the World Cup in 2nd place, behind Brazil 31 amassed points.
On their way to earning their 31 points, they won 9, drew 4 and unfortunately lost five. Uruguay, despite the 5 losses got themselves caught up in a 6-team frenzy for the last automatic and playoff qualification spot.
Luckily Cavani has been on hand to net 10 goals. Making him the top goal scorer in the CONMEBOL.
Uruguay Squad Outlook
Fernando Muslera, Martin Silva, Martin Campana, Diego Godin, Sebastian Coates, Jose Maria Gimenez, Maximiliano Pereira, Gaston Silva, Martin Caceres, Guillermo Varela, 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, Cristhian Stuani, Maximiliano Gomez, Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez
Squad Talk: As good as Cavani has been for Uruguay this year, nobody has been or will be more defining in their display than Luis Suarez.
Both of their goal scoring records compare fantastically; Suarez has scored more than 30 in 6 of 7 seasons whilst Cavani has netted 40 strikes in his last two seasons.
However, if we’re looking for the ‘next big thing’ to come out of this fantastic squad then look no further than Inter Milan’s Matias Vecino. Perhaps a little older than most at 26, the central midfielder has been the benchmark for the new generation of Tabarez’s men.
As a player, he is everywhere. He’s just as likely to make a tackle out of an impossible position than he is to be dropping next to Godin and Suarez.
Uruguay has a very good defence and even better attack. If this midfield is going to gel and becoming the force they can be then Matias Vecino will be the driving force behind it all.
King of the Country
Juan Alberto Schiaffino is a name that most around here would never have heard of. Schiaffino played from 1946-54 and earned 21 caps for his country.
Juan Alberto Schiaffino spent 6-years at AC Milan where they dominated the football world; 3 Serie A titles and a Latin cup is what he has to show for it all. Not a bad return by any means.
Here’s when things get crazy, Prior to his Juan Alberto Schiaffino’s move to Italy, he toon on Italian citizenship which would allow him to represent Italy on the international stage. However, Juan Alberto Schiaffino featured in both the 1950 and 1954 World Cup for Uruguay – Something that quite simply would never happen on the new age of football.
So why is he the best? Schiaffino was the man who upset the odds, scoring an equaliser past Brazil in the 1950 World Cup Finals as the Uruguayans went on their way to a 2nd World Cup victory.
A player known for his technique, touch and vision, a player who won a further 4 league titles with Penarol in 6 years Juan Alberto is truly an icon of South American Football.
Who’s the Gaffa
Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez is well-known for building his teams from the back with a ‘defence first’ mentality. Oscar’s preference is to take advantage of the counter-attack and let the world-class abilities of Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani do the talking up front.
At 71-years old it’s unlikely we’ll see anything different to what we’ve already seen from Tabarez. Fans can look forward to some old school, traditional counter-attacking football with a solid defensive shape where players are required to be combative rather than creative. The ultimate team mantra. It’s a South American take on the classic English route-one system.
Likely Group Finish: 1st
In what will be the weakest group of this year’s World Cup I expect Uruguay to walk into the knockout stages with 3/3 victories (regardless of Salah). Neither Russia, Egypt or Saudi Arabia pose any real threat to such a well drilled South American side.
Lazy Fan Fact:
“The first Pelé” was Uruguayan. José Leandro Andrade was a football phenomenon who has been called the first black icon in football and was possibly the first sporting sex symbol. An imposing six-footer, in the 1920s, when the Olympic Games was in effect a world championship of football, Andrade was entrancing European audiences to such an extent that hundreds of thousands came to watch him play.