Uruguay – World Cup 2014 – Group D


14-June Costa Rica (8pm GMT Fortaleza)

19-June England (8pm GMT Sao Paulo)

24-June Italy (5pm GMT Natal)

The surprise top seeds in Group D will not lack confidence as Mark Siglioccolo reminds Italy and England of Uruguay's not-so-secret buck-toothed weapon.

Coach: Oscar Tabarez

Oscar Tabarez certainly has a lengthy CV. He has coached numerous teams, some on multiple occasions across South America and Italy, with mixed success. The 67-year-old now finds himself at the helm of his national side for the second time in his career, having led them to the round of 16 in Italy 24 years ago. Tabarez has experience of lifting trophies in his home continent, but win this one and his name will be etched into legend.

Why they could be dangerous

For the fourth consecutive time, Uruguay qualified for the World Cup finals via the play-offs. In 2010 they were the surprise team of the tournament and finished fourth mainly thanks to the scoring exploits of Diego Forlan. This time it will be one Luis Suarez who will lead the line, as he has done so spectacularly for Liverpool all season. With Edinson Cavani alongside him and experience in the form of Bologna's Diego Perez, their inside knowledge of calcio may just prove to be vital come the final round showdown versus Italy.

The world on his shoulders: Luis Suarez

As top seeds Uruguay will be expected to qualify despite being handed a tough group. In Luis Suarez they possess currently one of the best strikers in the world and one that every other team will fear. Like Mario Balotelli and Wayne Rooney, Suarez has been known to make some questionable decisions on the pitch. This season, however, he appears to have matured and although personality wise he may be like Marmite, as a footballer he is undeniably world-class.  

Did you know?

Uruguay were the winners of the inaugural World Cup, which they also hosted. It was awarded to them to commemorate the centenary of their first constitution. Controversially, football was omitted from the original schedule for the 1932 Summer Olympics, so FIFA took it upon themselves to create a tournament of their own, and appointed reigning champions Uruguay as the host nation.   

Country legend: Diego Forlan

A stellar 12-year international career will likely come to an end in Brazil for the iconic forward. Uruguay's most capped player will have just turned 35 when the tournament kicks off and he will be looking for a repeat of his nation’s 2010 efforts to close the curtain on his 100+ cap reign. Recently usurped by Luis Suarez as all-time top scorer, Forlan will forever be remembered by the fans for his commitment and hard work.

Formation: 4-4-2

Excellent on the counter-attack, Tabarez usually deploys his troops in an inter-changeable 4-4-2 formation. Cristian Rodriguez slips into the trequartista role when La Celeste put their foot on the gas and Walter Gargano slips back into the holding midfield role as they essentially become a 4-1-2-1-2. Luis Suarez loves nothing more than to burst forward and run off the last defender, but the quality of service to him may not be as good as at Anfield, so expect him to pop up all over the pitch.

Uruguay versus…

…Costa Rica P8 W6 D2 L0 F15 A8

…England P10 W4 D3 L3 F13 A10

…Italy P9 W3 D4 L2 F10 A9


Population: 3.3 million

World Cup appearances: 11

Best finish: Winners in Uruguay 1930 and Brazil 1950

Famous for: Winning the inaugural World Cup. They may have won it just once since, but nobody can ever take away the fact that they were the first nation to achieve world domination on a football pitch.

Top Division: Primera División

How they got to the World Cup: Beat Jordan 5-0 on aggregate in the play-offs

FIFA World Ranking: 6

Last World Cup Appearance: South Africa 2010 – Finished fourth

Continental Honours: 1930 and 1950 World Cup winners, Copa America winners in 1983, 1987, 1995, 2011, Olympic champions in 1924 and 1928

Most Capped Player: Diego Forlan (108 caps)

Leading International Scorer: Luis Suarez (38 goals)

Nickname: La Celeste – The Sky Blues

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