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Page last updated at 22:12 GMT, Monday, 31 May 2010 23:12 UK

World Cup 2010 team guide: Uruguay

OVERVIEW

Uruguay

World Cup guide - Uruguay

A great team in the first half of the 20th century, Uruguay have struggled to live up to their famous history ever since, but they travel to South Africa with the potential to be one of the tournament's surprise packages. While the prospect of lifting the World Cup for a third time following their victories in 1930 and 1950 may be an unrealistic ambition, La Celeste certainly have the players to trouble Group A rivals, France, Mexico and South Africa.

Oscar Tabarez's side is blessed with a mixture of outstanding strikers, young talent and the old Uruguayan fighting spirit. But despite their undoubted talents, Tabarez's men made hard work of qualifying, managing just three wins in their opening 10 matches before redeeming themselves with wins over Colombia and Ecuador to set up a two-legged play-off against Costa Rica. Expectations at home are not high, but Tabarez believes his team will give a good account of themselves in South Africa: "I believe that we can cause a surprise as not much is expected of us."

Aim: In recent years Uruguay have only appeared in the 1990 and 2002 World Cups and they will see the second round as an important achievement.

THREE KEY PLAYERS
Nicolas Lodeiro

NICOLAS LODEIRO The new hope of Uruguayan football, the skilful playmaker only made his debut in the first leg play-off win against Costa Rica and was many pundits' man-of-the match in the 1-1 draw that sealed qualification. Lodeiro has been praised for his technical ability, intelligence on the ball, explosive bursts of pace and a clinical eye for goal. He joined Ajax in January, teaming up with international team-mate Luis Suarez.

Diego Forlan

DIEGO FORLAN The tormentor of English clubs in Europe this season, Forlan is the most experienced member of the Uruguay squad. The 31-year-old former Manchester United striker is a two-time European Golden Boot winner and has scored 66 La Liga goals in 102 outings for Atletico Madrid. He inspired the Spanish club to Europa League victory in May, scoring home and away against Liverpool in the semi and netting both goals against Fulham in the final.

Luis Suarez

LUIS SUAREZ The prolific 23-year-old heads to South Africa after a stunning individual season at Ajax, netting 49 goals in 48 games as the Amsterdam club won the Dutch Cup and finished second in the league. Suarez is very fast and likes to attack from deep positions or out wide. The £25m-rated striker has been linked to a host of Europe's biggest clubs, including Manchester United, and is expected to leave Ajax following the World Cup.

THE MANAGER
Oscar Tabarez

OSCAR TABAREZ will be leading Uruguay to a second World Cup finals, having also steered the national team to the second round at Italia '90. The 63-year-old has attempted to mould a talented group of individuals into a team that is capable of playing good football and doesn't just rely on the traditional Uruguayan fighting spirit. An inconsistent qualifying campaign with frequent tactical changes suggest he has so far struggled to achieve his goal. Tabarez is known as El Maestro (the teacher) because he actually did teach in a school in between his playing and coaching careers.

ADOPT THEM BECAUSE...

Uruguay are two-time World Cup winners, but their achievements are often overlooked, probably because their glory years pre-date TV. Imagine if there was no footage - and no Kenneth Wolstenholme - in 1966? Exactly. Show some respect and get behind the first ever World champions.

HOW THEY QUALIFIED

Uruguay's World Cup qualifying highlights

Uruguay's World Cup qualifying highlights

W 5-0 Bolivia (H)
L 1-0 Paraguay (A)
D 2-2 Chile (H)
L 2-1 Brazil (A)
D 1-1 Venezuela (H)
W 6-0 Peru (H)
W 1-0 Colombia (A)
D 0-0 Ecuador (H)
L 2-1 Argentina (A)
D 2-2 Bolivia (A)
W 2-0 Paraguay (H)
D 0-0 Chile (A)
L 4-0 Brazil (H)
D 2-2 Venezuela (A)
L 1-0 Peru (A)
W 3-1 Colombia (H)
W 2-1 Ecuador (A)
L 1-0 Argentina (H)
Finished fifth in South American standings

Play-off
W 1-0 Costa Rica (A)
D 1-1 Costa Rica (H)

WORLD CUP BEST

Winners in 1930 and 1950, Uruguay caused one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history when they beat Brazil 2-1 at the Maracana in the 1950 final. They haven't got past the first knockout round since 1970.

Written by Paul Atherton



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Group tables

Group A

Group A teams W D L GD PTS
Uruguay 2 1 0 4 7
Mexico 1 1 1 1 4
South Africa 1 1 1 -2 4
France 0 1 2 -3 1

Group B

Group B teams W D L GD PTS
Argentina 3 0 0 6 9
South Korea 1 1 1 -1 4
Greece 1 0 2 -3 3
Nigeria 0 1 2 -2 1

Group C

Group C teams W D L GD PTS
USA 1 2 0 1 5
England 1 2 0 1 5
Slovenia 1 1 1 0 4
Algeria 0 1 2 -2 1

Group D

Group D teams W D L GD PTS
Germany 2 0 1 4 6
Ghana 1 1 1 0 4
Australia 1 1 1 -3 4
Serbia 1 0 2 -1 3

Group E

Group E teams W D L GD PTS
Netherlands 3 0 0 4 9
Japan 2 0 1 2 6
Denmark 1 0 2 -3 3
Cameroon 0 0 3 -3 0

Group F

Group F teams W D L GD PTS
Paraguay 1 2 0 2 5
Slovakia 1 1 1 -1 4
New Zealand 0 3 0 0 3
Italy 0 2 1 -1 2

Group G

Group G teams W D L GD PTS
Brazil 2 1 0 3 7
Portugal 1 2 0 7 5
Ivory Coast 1 1 1 1 4
North Korea 0 0 3 -11 0

Group H

Group H teams W D L GD PTS
Spain 2 0 1 2 6
Chile 2 0 1 1 6
Switzerland 1 1 1 0 4
Honduras 0 1 2 -3 1

see also
Uruguay country profile
21 Oct 12 |  Country profiles


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