World Cup Preview: Uruguay
By Dialogo May 28, 2010*URUGUAY* *Nickname*: La Celeste *World Cups*: 11 (1930, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1986, 1990, 2002, 2010) *Championships*: 2 (1930, 1950) *Runner-up*: 0 *Third*: 0 *How it qualified*: The Uruguayans finished in fifth place in the CONMEBOL region by going 6-6-6 to finish with 24 points, one ahead of Ecuador. The fifth-place showing forced La Celeste to qualify for their first World Cup since 2002 by defeating Costa Rica – the fourth-place team from the CONCACAF region – in a two-game playoff. Uruguay outscored the Ticos, 2-1, collectively to earn a trip to South Africa. *Coach*: Oscar Washington Tabárez *Projected starting lineup*: *Goalie*: Néstor Muslera *Defense*: Andrés Scotti; Diego Lugano; Diego Godín; Martín Cáceres *Midfield*: Nicolás Lodeiro; Sebastián Eguren; Diego Pérez; Álvaro Pereira *Forward*: Luis Suárez; Diego Forlán *Pool Play*: Uruguay, which is ranked 18th in the world by FIFA, is in Group A with 10th-ranked France, 17th-ranked Mexico and 90th-ranked South Africa. *Schedule*: June 11 vs. France at Cape Town Stadium; June 16 vs. South Africa at Tshwane/Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld; June 22 vs. Mexico at Rustenburg’s Royal Bafokeng *Did you know?* Uruguay is one of five countries to have won multiple World Cups, accomplishing the feat in 1930 and 1950. Uruguay has not advanced out of pool play since 1990, when it lost in the round of 16 to Italy, 2-0. The team boasts three of the tournament’s top young players: midfielder Lodeiro (21), defender Cáceres (22) and forward Suárez (23). Uruguay is not sound defensively, but it has a very potent offense, as it scored 28 goals in CONMEBOL qualifying, third-most behind Brazil and Chile. Forlán scored a team-high seven, followed by Abreu’s six and Suárez’s five.