2018 World Cup team preview: Uruguay

AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan
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Getting to know Uruguay: It won its first two World Cups, and has thrice been semifinalists, but may be on the precipice of wasting two golden chances to make deep runs.

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Uruguay was a chic choice to make a run in 2014, buoyed by the success of one Luis Suarez, but his biting incident hampered their chances of making a run through the knockout rounds. It was a 2-0 loss to Colombia, a side it had beaten in qualifying the previous Fall, that sent Uruguay packing from Brazil.

Oscar Tabarez’s side is younger now, but still boasts two of the best strikers in the world and terrific center backs who also play together for club in Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez. With those in the arsenal, it’s got a chance to make a run.

For more history on Uruguay, click here.

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What group are they in? Group A

Game schedule – Group A – Full 2018 World Cup schedule, here

Friday, June 15: Egypt vs. Uruguay, Yekaterinburg 8 a.m. ET
Weds., June 20: Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia, Rostov-on-Don 11 a.m. ET
Monday, June 25: Uruguay vs. Russia, Samara 10 a.m. ET

Projected lineup (4-4-2) – Check out the 23-man squad list in full


Varela — Godin — Gimenez — Laxalt

Nandez — Betancur — Vecina — Rodriguez

Suarez — Cavani

Star player: Luis Suarez — He’s scored 30 or more club goals in five of six seasons, and likely would’ve made it a perfect six had he not been suspended for biting Giorgio Chiellini. Along with fellow 31-year-old striker and 2011 Copa America winner Edinson Cavani, this is a huge tournament for his international legacy.

Manager: Óscar Tabárez – The argument for consistency, Tabarez has led Uruguay since 2006. That includes a fourth-place run at the 2010 World Cup, and who knows how far Luis Suarez and Co. could have gone in 2014 had the star striker not gone 28 Days Later on Giorgio Chiellini. He knows his side well.

Secret weapon: Rodrigo Betancur — The 20-year-old Juventus midfielder is going to get his chance to lay claim to a major and long-term midfield role with Uruguay.

Prediction: With all due respect to the magnificence of Mohamed Salah as well as the power of a host nation in Russia, it would be a monumental disappointment if Uruguay failed to make it out of group play. The group winners and runners-up face Group B, which will likely be Spain or Portugal so… pick your poison.