2014 World Cup team preview: Uruguay


Getting to know… Uruguay: The two-time champions (1930, 1950) are salivating at the thought of a South American World Cup despite facing a very dangerous group. Loaded at forward and midfield, Uruguay has an experienced squad that won the Copa America in 2011. After missing three of four tournaments between 1994-2006, La Celeste rebounded to finish fourth in 2010. With names like Forlan, Suarez, Cavani, Pereira and Godin, you know this team better than you think.

Record in qualifying: Finished fifth in CONMEBOL, beneath Ecuador on goal differential. Needed a win over Jordan in the playoff to get into the World Cup.

What group are they in? Group D with Costa Rica, England and Italy.

Game schedule: Group D

14 June, 16:00, Fortaleza – Uruguay vs. Costa Rica
19 June, 16:00, Sao Paolo – Uruguay vs. England
24 June, 13:00, Natal– Italy vs. Uruguay

Star player: Luis Suarez

Perhaps you’ve heard of him? The devastating and controversial striker had a red-hot club season for Liverpool but will be coming off surgery thanks to a tackle from Newcastle’s Paul Dummett.

But call off the death threats, Uruguayan faithful; Suarez says he’ll be ready to bring the danger to the World Cup pitch on schedule. Already a World Cup “hero,” Suarez can take the next step in restoring his image with another strong tournament.

Manager: Oscar Tabarez

Tabarez, 67, is in his second stint managing Uruguay after a 16-year cap between 1990 and 2006. The former AC Milan, Cagliari and Boca Juniors boss has won 47 percent of his matches during this spell at the helm and can claim the Copa America 2011 title.

Secret weapon: Attacking Diegos on defense

Kinda cheating to call them a secret, as captain Diego Lugano and Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin have been on Uruguayan scene for a while, but the two defenders are capable of providing plenty of spark. Look out for both Diegos on set pieces. Then there’s the less secret Diego, Forlan, bringing attacking thunder.

Prediction: Uruguay beats Costa Rica in the opener and England in the second match, setting up a potential battle for the group against Italy, where it slides into second place in Group D.

Newcastle’s Krul on crutches after injury in Dutch win

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 03:  Tim Krul of Newcastle United looks on during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester City and Newcastle United at Etihad Stadium on October 3, 2015 in Manchester, United Kingdom.  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)
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Newcastle United’s horror start under Steve McClaren just got worse.

Magpies No. 1 goalkeeper Tim Krul is on duty with the Netherlands, and was forced from the Dutch’s 2-1 win at Kazakhstan in Euro qualifying action.

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Krul left the game after landing awkwardly on his knee, and left the stadium on crutches.

Newcastle’s back-up keepers are Karl Darlow, new from Nottingham Forest, and veteran Rob Elliot.

The Magpies are in 20th place, without a win through eight Premier League matches.

McClaren’s crew just finished a brutal run of matches that saw Newcastle face Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.