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World Cup 2018 Uruguay team profile: How they qualified, star man, World Cup record, fixtures

World Cup Group A team profile: Uruguay
By Eurosport

04/06/2018 at 14:01Updated 05/06/2018 at 11:32

Uruguay come into the World Cup with an outside shot of going all the way thanks to a settled side that has experience in abundance.

  • Honours: World Cup, 1934, 1950; South American Championship/Copa América:1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1935, 1942,[note 2] 1956, 1959, 1967, 1983, 1987, 1995, 2011.
  • FIFA Ranking: 17

HOW THEY QUALIFIED

Brazil breezed to first place in CONMEBOL qualifying but Uruguay were a comfortable second in what was anything but a comfortable qualifying campaign for the usual powerhouses of South American football, with Chile missing out and Argentina relying on Lionel Messi’s genius to qualify.

Edinson Cavani was key to their success, hitting 10 goals – three more than any other player in qualifying.

THE SQUAD

STAR MAN - Edinson Cavani (PSG)

Luis Suarez remains the most popular Uruguayan player but Cavani has emerged as the side’s most important one. His goals fired La Celeste to the World Cup and should they have designs on bettering their performance in 2014, where they made the round of 16, then Cavani will have to be firing. He has hit 42 goals in 100 games for the national team.

NEXT BIG THING - Rodrigo Bentancur (Juventus)

Bentancur moved to Juventus in 2017 from Boca Juniors for a fee believed to be in the region of €9.5 million. The 20-year-old made 27 appearances in all competitions last season as he added a Serie A and Coppa Italia double to his two league titles with Boca.

The youngster can play a variety of positions in midfield, with the expectation that he will end up as a deep-lying playmaker. Oscar Tabarez has elected to play him in wide positions for the national team.

THE COACH - Oscar Tabarez

The 71-year-old has been in situ since 2006, and has presided over a period of sustained success.

The two-time winners failed to qualify for 1994, 1998 and the 2006 World Cups, while they were knocked out at the Group Stage in 2002 but have now qualified for three tournaments on the trot. He has presided over 191 games for the national team in two stints.

WORLD CUP HISTORY

They have been champions twice, in 1930 and 1950 but have since then peaked and troughed – they have finished fourth on three occasions since but have also missed out on qualification on six separate occasions.

At the 2014 tournament, they emerged from the Group of Death that also contained England, Italy and Costa Rica, but, having finished second behind surprise package Costa Rica, faced an in-form Colombia in the last 16, a side they would lose 2-0 to.

REASONS FOR OPTIMISM

They have drawn a pretty favourable group, alongside Russia, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and have a squad laden with experience. Their minimum target should be at least the quarter-finals, where either Spain or Portugal lay in wait.

FIXTURES

  • June 15th: Egypt
  • June 20th: Saudi Arabia
  • June 25th: Russia
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