Don’t write off Los Charrúas just yet. The two-time FIFA World Cup Champs [’30 and ’50] have been known to pull off a few upsets.
Team: Los Charrúas
Colors: Green, light blue and black
Probably the most overlooked team in group A, Uruguay, a country of only 3.4 million people, could be a surprise survivor due to their rich football history and cool combination of youth and experience.
The names on the back of their jerseys may lack superstar status; but many of Uruguay’s young up-and-comers have been faring well for their European clubs, and they have the skills to play against anyone in the world. Most of their success during the qualifying round occurred on the road, so being far away from South America may actually be a good thing.
They haven’t received much hype and aren’t expected to advance. Yet, given an opportunity to foot the ball into the back of the net, Uruguay will take it every time. So watch out!
Key Players: Diego Forlan, Martin Caceres and Diego Lugano
Uruguay’s big name player, Forlan, will be the key attacker. He scored seven goals during the qualifying round and has played well this season for Atletico Madrid, finding the back of the net more than 20 times.
Keeping their own goal empty was difficult at times. Thus, to achieve success in the first round, Los Charrúas must rely on their defense, particularly Caceres and Lugano. The young Caceres is showing signs of maturity on his club team, Juventus. Lugano can get beat rather easily; but his high-flying skills on set pieces make him a threat to score from anywhere inside the box.
Key Matchup: Uruguay vs. France
If Uruguay expects to make it out of the group stage, they need to hit the ground running in their opening match against France. If their defense can handle France’s high-octane, hand balling offense, they may have a chance. This game will be decided during the first half.
Prediction: It will be an uphill battle, but in a group where every team has a question mark, anything is possible. Uruguay can score goals, but they need to step up their D if they want to make it out. If they end up in a close tie for the number two spot, they’ll lose due to goals allowed.
Related link: World Cup 2010 Countdown