Outright odds: 33/1
To win group: 21/10
To qualify: 4/7
Full squad: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Martin Silva (Vasco Da Gama), Rodrigo Munoz (Libertad); Diego Lugano (West Brom), Diego Godin, Jose Maria Gimenez (both Atletico Madrid), Martin Caceres (Juventus), Maximiliano Pereira (Benfical), Jorge Fucile (Porto), Sebastian Coates (Nacional); Egidio Arevalo-Rios (Morelia), Walter Gargano (Parma), Diego Perez (Bologna), Alvaro Gonzalez (Lazio), Alvaro Pereira (Sao Pablo), Cristian Rodriguez (Atletico Madrid), Gaston Ramirez (Southampton), Nicolas Lodeiro (Botafogo); Edinson Cavani (PSG), Luis Suarez (Liverpool), Diego Forlan (Cerezo Osaka), Abel Hernandez (Palermo), Cristian Stuani (Espanyol).
Manager: Oscar Tabarez
World Cup record: Two-time winners (1930, 1950), three-times fourth (1954, 1970, 2010)
There will be 5 teams that have won more than one World Cup in Brazil and Uruguay, semi finalists 4 years ago, and Oscar Tabarez’s side will be hoping for a repeat of that on “home soil” this time around and possibly more.
Shock semi-finalists in 2010, when they had Luis Suarez’s handball and Ghana’s self combustion to thank for their semi final spot, Uruguay took advantage of Argentina and Brazil’s lamentable performances to take the 2011 Copa America in fine style.
This time they could go just as far, but they could also go out at the group stage in such a tight section with an Italy side that matched them at the Confederations Cup and an England side that offers more than in 2010 when they were so disappointing, and it’s hard to be definite about their chances.
Qualifying would be a worry for many, having had to go through the playoffs, but the competition is strong in CONEMBOL and Uruguay had to go through the playoffs four years ago, so it would be unwise to read too much into what they achieved.
What one can be definite about is the forward options available to Oscar Tabarez. Luis Suarez is set to miss the Group D opener but that comes against Costa Rica and if he can come back in top physical condition then he will be a tremendous asset against both England and Italy, coming off a career best season in which he scored 31 goals in 33 league games while providing assists a plenty too. Suarez also scored 11 goals in qualifying for good measure
Edison Cavani’s tally of 16 goals for PSG in Ligue 1 is hardly poor form either given that he shared a space with Zaltan Ibrahimovic on the side and his 6 goals in qualifying underline his clinical nature for country as well as club side. Diego Forlan is not the player of four years ago, but Abel Hernandez doesn’t look likely to get a game and he scored 14 goals for Palermo.
The midfield is packed with power rather than technique as shown by Atletico Madrid’s, Christian Rodriguez, who has had a fine season for the La Liga winners., although Arevalo Rios and Diego Perez may not be as good as they were 4 years ago with both over 30 now.
Maximiliano Pereira had a domestic treble with Benfica and Martin Caceres should have no shame in failing to make a Juventus side filled with quality for more than 17 games a season. Diego Godin’s season for Atletico Madrid, with the title winning goal icing on the cake, was without comparison on a defensive level but his centreback partner in Diego Lugano was let go by West Brom and is a serious liability on his league form.
But when all is said and done, 9 of the likely starting 11 have played a part in Urugay’s last three major tournaments – the World Cup and Confederations Cup along with the Copa America success – and they make a fascinating opponent for England and Italy.