Words by Nick Dorrington

Two-time FIFA World Cup winners Uruguay sneaked into the tournament through the back door, triumphing over Jordan in the intercontinental play-offs, but having done sp, they should not be discounted from making an impact in Brazil, the country in which they famously won their second world crown in 1950.

Little has changed from the squad that finished fourth at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, with just two players given international debuts during the qualifying process. Coach Oscar Tabarez has continued to show faith in a number of his elder statesmen, including some who are no longer regulars at club level.

Expectations are relatively high despite the problems faced during qualifying, primarily because Uruguay’s counter-attacking style is tailor made for knockout competition. They have lined up in various formations in recent years and have a number of highly versatile players, giving Tabarez flexibility few international coaches can count upon.
Uruguay have been drawn in difficult group, the only one featuring three previous FIFA World Cup Winners, but in Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez they have what is potentially one of the strongest strike forces in the competition. Despite some weaknesses, Tabarez’s side are capable of having a good tournament. “It is a tough group, “said experienced forward Diego Forlan. “But at the last World Cup we were in a tough group and things went well for us.”

COACH>>

OSCAR TABAREZ

The experienced tactician will lead Uruguay into the FIFA World Cup finals for the third time in his career. He took charge of the national team for the second time in 2006 and received numerous plaudits for Uruguay’s excellent displays at South Africa 2010 and 2011 Copa America.

Fixtures Group D

Costa Rica
Fortaleza 15 June 2014

England
San Paulo 20 June 2014

Italy
Natal 25 June 2014

*Dates are AEST

Tournament history
Previous tournaments: 11

2010 FIFA World Cup performance
Semi-finals

Best performance
Winners, 1930, 50

How they qualified
Fifth, South American group
Beat Jordan in play-offs