Uruguay and South Korea played to a goalless draw Thursday.
Qatar is Uruguay’s fourth consecutive World Cup — a remarkable feat for one a nation with one of the smallest populations in the tournament (less than 3.5million).
Uruguay reached the quarter-finals in Russia four years ago, having reached the round of 16 in Brazil and then the semi-finals in South Africa.
Last year, they parted ways with legendary head coach Oscar Tabarez. The 75-year-old took over in 2006 and is credited with reviving football in Uruguay and masterminding their golden era.
However, new coach Diego Alonso took over when World Cup qualification was far from secure after an unconvincing run under Tabarez. Uruguay had lost their last four matches before Tabares’ dismissal and sat outside the South American qualification places.
Alonso kickstarted Uruguay’s campaign, though, presiding over four wins from four matches as his side finished third in the CONMEBOL table, some way behind runaway leaders Brazil and Argentina.
Uruguay have been drawn in Group H at this year’s tournament and will face Portugal, Ghana and South Korea. They will play Ghana for the first time since their infamous quarter-final in 2010, which saw Luis Suarez sent off for a handball on the line that prevented Uruguay from being knocked out. Asamoah Gyan missed the resulting penalty and Ghana lost the penalty shootout which followed.
Suarez is remarkably still part of the Uruguay squad 12 years later. The 35-year-old is his nations’s all-time top scorer with 68 goals and was unsurprisingly named in Alonso’s squad for Qatar, whose hosting of the tournament is controversial for the reasons outlined in this article.
Uruguay team guide: Mind games, Darwin Nunez and hopes for a third trophy
Uruguay’s World Cup squad
Goalkepeepers: Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Sergio Rochet (Nacional), Sebastian Sosa (Independiente).
Defenders: Ronald Araujo (Barcelona), Martin Caceres (LA Galaxy), Sebastian Coates (Sporting Lisbon), Jose Gimenez (Atletico Madrid), Diego Godin (Velez Sarsfield), Mathias Olivera (Napoli), Jose Rodriguez (Nacional), Guillermo Varela (Flamengo), Matias Vina (Roma).
Midfielders: Rodrigo Bentancur (Tottenham), Nicolas De Cruz (River Plate), Facundo Pellistri (Man Utd), Lucas Torreira (Galatasaray), Manuel Ugarte (Sporting Lisbon), Federico Valverde (Real Madrid), Matias Vecino (Lazio).
Forwards: Luis Suarez (Nacional), Darwin Nunez (Liverpool), Maxi Gomez (Trabzonspor), Edinson Cavani (Valencia), Agustin Canobbio (Athletico Paranense), Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Flamengo), Facundo Torres (Orlando City).
Uruguay’s World Cup fixtures and results
- Thursday, November 24: Uruguay 0-0 South Korea
- Monday, November 28: Portugal vs Uruguay
- Friday, December 2: Ghana vs Uruguay
Uruguay squad analysis
Uruguay have won the World Cup twice and on paper, they have the star power to make it a shock third: Edinson Cavani, Darwin Nunez, Luis Suarez and Federico Valverde are some of their familiar names. But there are weaknesses at the back and they face a tough route under an inexperienced manager…
For a full analysis of their chances in Qatar, click here.
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(Photo: Getty Images)