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Uruguay World Cup 2018 profile: Ones to watch, best bets and more

All you need to know about Uruguay ahead of the World Cup in Russia
All you need to know about Uruguay ahead of the World Cup in Russia

Read up on Uruguay's proud World Cup history and their current crop looking to go deep in Russia.

Uruguay Factfile

  • FIFA World Ranking: 17
  • Sky Bet outright winner odds: 33/1
  • Best Bet: Uruguay to win Group A at evens
  • World Cup appearances: 12
  • Best World Cup finish: Champions (1930,1950)
  • Nickname: La Celeste (The Sky Blue); Los Charruas (the name of a warrior tribe in Uruguay); La Garra Charrua (The Charrua Claw)

Coach - Oscar Tabarez: The 71-year-old will be coaching in his fourth World Cup with Uruguay after leading them in Italia 90 in his first spell before returning and taking them to South Africa and Brazil in 2010 and 2014 respectively. He's a tough non-nonsense manager just like his team.

Legend - Enzo Francescoli: A few from their World Cup-winning squads such as Juan Alberto Schiaffino have a shout, and Luis Suarez may be the man in the future, but we have gone for gifted No.10 Enzo Francescoli who technically may be the greatest Uruguayan footballer of all time. He played in the 1986 and 1990 World Cups with a commanding style and graceful ability that led to his nickname El Príncipe (The Prince) and he's credited with inspiring the latest generation of players.

Star Man - Luis Suarez: One of the best players in the world, Suarez is as good as centre forwards get with his combination of speed, strength, skill and tenacity - added to a ferocious appetite for victory. That often sees him cross the line though, and after his deliberate handball in 2010 and his bite in 2014 there's hope that he makes headlines in this World Cup for the right reasons.

Did you know? Uruguay are one of four teams to win all their games at a World Cup - although it only took four games to win the 1930 tournament. Italy did so in 1938 by also winning four games while Brazil managed to do it with a heavier workload by winning in 1970 (six matches) and 2002 (seven matches).

Fun fact: The second-smallest country in South America, Uruguay sees people outnumbered by cows by a ratio of four to one - 12 million cattle but just three million people.

Qualifying: South American qualifying was dominated by Brazil this time around, so finishing in second place was about as good as they could have hoped for - even if they were ten points behind the dominant Samba stars.

Group A fixtures: Egypt (1pm, June 15, Ekaterinburg), Saudi Arabia (4pm, June 20, Rostov-On-Don), Russia (3pm, June 25, Samara)

Uruguay squad

Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Martin Silva (Vasco da Gama), Martin Campana (Independiente).

Defenders: Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez (both Atletico Madrid), Sebastian Coates (Sporting Lisbon), Maximiliano Pereira (Porto), Gaston Silva (Independiente), Martin Caceres (Lazio), Guillermo Varela (Penarol).

Midfielders: Nahitan Nandez (Boca Juniors), Lucas Torreira (Sampdoria), Matias Vecino (Inter Milan), Rodrigo Bentancur (Juventus), Carlos Sanchez (Monterrey), Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Cruzeiro), Diego Laxalt (Genoa), Cristian Rodriguez (Penarol), Jonathan Urretaviscaya (Monterrey).

Forwards: Cristhian Stuani (Girona), Maximiliano Gomez (Celta Vigo), Edinson Cavani (Paris St-Germain), Luis Suarez (Barcelona).

Uruguay Profile

The won the first-ever World Cup back in 1930, and Uruguay have been a regular feature at the major tournament ever since.

They have made the finals 12 times out of 16 qualification attempts, and surpassed the group stages in 2010 and 2014.

Luis Suarez celebrates
Luis Suarez set to star for Uruguay at the World Cup

Uruguay are in Group A alongside Russia, Egypt and Saudi Arabia and find themselves as even money favourites to win the group.

Oscar Tabarez is in charge of Uruguay for his fourth World Cup finals.

He masterminded Uruguay’s 2011 Copa America victory and will be hopeful of a strong World Cup campaign to go alongside that.

Who to watch out for

Uruguay are a team full of talent but the main man will be Barcelona striker Luis Suarez, who should lead the line.

The former Liverpool man has 50 goals in 97 appearances for his country, and should surpass 100 caps at this summer’s tournament.

He’ll be alongside Edinson Cavani up front, with the PSG striker one of Europe’s finest after another 40-goal haul this season.

The South American outfit also boast the likes of Juventus midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur and Atletico Madrid defenders Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez in their squad.

This highlights the talent that Uruguay possess throughout their ranks, making them a strong contender for this World Cup.

How did they qualify?

Uruguay lined up in the South American Football Confederation qualifying, and came out with automatic passage to the finals.

The Sky Blue finished second in the ten-team group, ten points behind runaway leaders Brazil.

That finish saw them above the likes of Argentina and Colombia, who will also be making an appearance in Russia.

They were five points clear of Peru who secured the play-off spot, and qualified with relative ease despite losing five of their 18 games.

The highlight of their qualification path was the 4-0 victory over Paraguay, their biggest winning margin.

Any interesting facts about Uruguay?

Whilst they line-up in a group with one of the largest countries – Russia – Suriname is the only country in South America that is smaller than Uruguay.

It is also a country that sees cows outnumber people by a ratio of four to one. Uruguay possesses 12 million cattle but just three million people.

Uruguay’s national anthem, Orientales, la Patria o la Tumbawhich, is the world’s longest in performance duration as it lasts longer than five minutes.

They do also have a shorter version though, and we will most likely hear that when the teams line-up before each game.

Between 2010 and 2015, Uruguay’s president was Jose Mujica. He made a name for himself worldwide after he donated 90% of his income to charity.

Any famous football moments?

Uruguay is a country that has experienced its fair share of famous footballing moments. The 1950 final though, is up there with one of the most iconic of them all.

Over 160,000 fans packed the stadium in Rio de Janeiro to watch Brazil take on Uruguay in the World Cup final, a game that required more than 5,000 policemen with support from special army units.

The game was won 2-1 by Uruguay, with Juan Alberto Schiaffino Villano and Alcides Ghiggia Pereyra’s second-half strikes the difference between the two sides.

Brazilian newspaper O Mundo printed an early edition on the day of the final containing a photograph of Brazil with the caption "These are the world champions".

For Uruguay, that was all the motivation they needed.

Reportedly, manager Juan Lopez told his team to adopt a defensive style to cope with the attacking power of Brazil.

However, team captain Obdulio Varela demanded the team ignore the instructions, which led to them lifting the trophy at full-time.

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