Team Profile: Uruguay
Colours: Light blue shirts, black shorts, black socks.
Nickname: La Celeste (the light blue)
Previous World Cup appearances: 10 (1930, 1950, 1954, 1962, 1966, 1970, 1974, 1986, 1990, 2002)
Best World Cup performance: Winners 1930, 1950
Coach: Oscar Washington Tabarez
Most capped player: Rodolfo Rodriguez 78
Top scorer: Hector Scarone 31
FIFA Ranking (Apr 10) : 18
Many people ask themselves why Uruguay have dropped so much in the last 50 years, but the real question should be, how this little tiny country managed to be that big on the international football stage in the first place, winning two World Cups, two Olympic football gold medals, and 14 Copa America trophies. La Celeste is one of the most successful national teams in football history.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
For the third consecutive time, Uruguay finished fifth in the South American qualifiers, suffering until the very last minute but winning their play-off against Costa Rica. They pulled off a great 1-0 victory in San Jose, and scraped through with a 1-1 draw in Montevideo.
Strong defence and aerial power are their main attributes. Uruguay is a tough team and can play good or bad, but you can never blame them for lack of commitment or for not giving absolutely everything. That `never-say-die` attitude has a name, and it`s called: Garra Charrúa.
Uruguay is an extremely inconsistent and unpredictable team. They can play really well, or really bad. In addition, and despite having its best stars up front, Uruguay is a team that wastes many chances
Oscar Washington Tabárez has been questioned despite achieving qualification. He is a coach that adapts his strategy according to the rival, and although he likes to play with a 4-3-3 tactical formation, you can often see his team playing 4-4-2 or 3-4-1-2.
Diego Forlán (Atlético de Madrid): The most popular Uruguayan player in the world today is ready for his second appearance in a World Cup. After winning the La Liga Pichichi and European Golden Boot two times, the striker wants to achieve great things with his national team.
Cristian Rodríguez (FC Porto): Uruguayan fans love him, not just because of his magical left foot, but also for his bravery. Better known as ‘El Cebolla` (the Onion), Rodriguez is a key player on the left flank of Tabarez`s team.
Diego Lugano (Fenerbahce): A true born leader and unquestionable captain of the team, this extremely efficient centre-back is a warranty in Uruguay`s defence. A really tough player you wouldn`t like to annoy.
BEST FOOTBALLING MOMENT
Despite Uruguay`s achievements being a bit dated, the South Ameircans proudly display four yellow stars above their shirt badge. If you had to choose one moment in Uruguayan football history, it has to be Alcides Gigghia`s 79th minute goal against Brazil in Maracana, in the 1950 World Cup final.
OFF THE PITCH
Famous for: The Mate, an infused drink made up of shrub leaves and hot water and Candombe, drum-based music, which is an integral part of Uruguayan Carnival, the longest of the world, with two months of celebrations.
Most likely to: Undergo searches at the airport. South African customs officers will stop Uruguayan players after detecting a certain weed in their luggage, only to realise that it`s actually the Yerba for their mates.
WORLD CUP OBJECTIVE
Although you can`t ask Uruguayan fans not to dream, the country will celebrate a good performance and will hopefully show the world that La Celeste is still alive. Let`s say quarter-finals.
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