Team Profile: Uruguay

What a topsy-turvy qualifying campaign it was for Uruguay.


  • Coach: Oscar Tabarez
  • Goalkeepers: Fernando Muslera (Lazio/Italy), Juan-Guillermo Castillo (Cali/Colombia), Martin Silva (Defensor Sporting)
  • Defenders: Diego Lugano (Fenerbahce/Turkey), Diego Godin (Villarreal/Spain), Andres Scotti (Colo Colo/Chile), Jorge Fucile (Porto/Portugal), Martin Caceres (Juventus/Italy), Mauricio Victorino (Universidad de Chile/Chile), Maximiliano Pereira (Benfica/Portugal)
  • Midfielders: Walter Gargano (Napoli/Italy), Egidio Arevalo-Rios (Penarol), Sebastian Eguren (AIK Stockholm/Sweden), Diego Perez (Monaco/France), Alvaro Pereira (Porto/Portugal), Alvaro Fernandez (Universidad de Chile/Chile), Ignacio Gonzalez (Valencia/Spain), Nicolas Lodeiro (Ajax/Netherlands)
  • Forwards: Sebastian Fernandez (Banfield/Argentina ), Luis Suarez (Ajax/Netherlands), Diego Forlan (Atletico Madrid/Spain), Sebastian Abreu (Botafogo/Brazil), Edinson Cavani (Palermo/Italy)


Style of play: Employing a 4-4-2 formation, coach Oscar Tabarez emphasizes attacking soccer, while at the same time demanding his team play physically, especially in defence. Forwards Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez form one of the most dangerous 1-2 scoring threats in international soccer, so it comes as little surprise that midfield creator Nicolas Lodeiro tries to feed them through balls to run onto in the final third of the field. While Lodeiro pulls the creative strings, Diego Perez acts as the holding midfielder, breaking up the opponent's attack and serving as the crucial link between Uruguay's tough-as-nails defence and its explosive offence. Tabarez will sometimes revert to a 4-3-1-2 formation, with Lodeiro slotting in the hole behind the two strikers.

1st round matches:

  • June 11 vs. France in Cape Town
  • June 16 vs. South Africa in Pretoria
  • June 22 vs. Mexico in Rustenburg

Projected starting lineup (4-4-2): (GK) Nestor Muslera - (D) Diego Lugano, Diego Godin, Andres Scotti, Martin Caceres - (M) Sebastian Eguren, Diego Perez, Alvaro Pereira, Nicolas Lodeiro - (F) Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez


  • Mental and physical toughness - Opposing forwards will earn every goal they get against a defence noted for its physical strength. Uruguay's mental toughness is another huge asset, something they relied on to survive the gruelling South American qualifiers and a do-or-die playoff against Costa Rica.
  • Offensive firepower - Diego Forlan is one of the best strikers in the world and is coming off a strong season with Spanish club Atletico Madrid. Uruguay can also rely on a steady stream of goals from Luis Suarez, Edison Cavani and Sebastian Abreu.
  • Midfield creativity - Still only 21, Nicolas Lodeiro is one of the brightest young stars In South American soccer. Noted for his technical ability, he supplies the creativity to a quality midfield that also includes Sebastian Eguren and Diego Perez.


  • Goalkeeping - Who is Uruguay's No. 1 goalkeeper? Not even Tabarez knows for sure, as he used four different goalkeepers in the qualifiers. Fernando Muslera is expected to start, but he's error prone and is coming off a terrible season with Italian club Lazio
  • Lack of depth - Uruguay doesn't have enough quality replacements on the bench and lacks real depth at almost every position when you look past the starting 11.
  • Tough group - Uruguay begins its World Cup campaign with a tough game against France. Failure to collect three points in that match will put the South American behind the eight ball, and force them into a must-win situation in their final game, another tough encounter, against Mexico.

Players to watch:

  • Edinson Cavani - A star for his country at the 2007 U-20 World Cup staged in Canada, Cavani is an exciting forward noted for power in the air and his powerful, long-range shot.
  • Diego Forlan - The Uruguayan hit man is one of the most dangerous and potent strikers in the world, twice a winner of the European Golden Shoe (2005 and 2009) as the top goal scorer in all of European club soccer.
  • Diego Lugano - A physical and uncompromising defender, Lugano has eyes only for the ball and with two adept feet he can clear, cross and pass a ball with ease.

Key injuries/squad omissions: Not surprisingly, coach Oscar Tabarez decided not to call winger Cristian Rodriguez. The FC Porto star was suspended after receiving a red card in the last match of the South American qualifying campaign. The ban meant he would have missed the first two games of the World Cup. Also missing out were midfielder Jorge Rodriguez, striker Jorge Martinez and winger Alvaro Gonzalez.

Prognosis: Second round. Uruguay, the first-ever World Cup champions, return to the tournament after an eight-year absence and are eager to make up for lost time. In Diego Forlan, the South American nation has one of the most dangerous strikers in the game. They also have plenty of experienced players. That should be enough to help Uruguay emerge from a three-way fight with France and Mexico to grab one of the top-two spots in Group A.


  • Current FIFA ranking: #18
  • Qualification route: Uruguay finished in fifth place (24 points) in the South American qualifiers behind Argentina (28 points). Uruguay then defeated Costa Rica in a two-game playoff, winning 2-1 on aggregate.
  • Key to qualification: Determination. Uruguay battled Argentina right down to the end for that final World Cup berth. That they managed to keep the heat on the Argentines and fend off challenges from Ecuador and Colombia for fifth place speaks to the strength of their team character.
  • Crucial result: Determination. Uruguay battled Argentina right down to the end for that final World Cup berth. That they managed to keep the heat on the Argentines and fend off challenges from Ecuador and Colombia for fifth place speaks to the strength of their team character.
  • Qualifying record: 20 games played, 7 wins, 7 draws, 6 losses
  • Goals for: 30
  • Goals against: 21
  • Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Diego Forlan (7)

Qualifying results: (home team listed first)

  • Oct. 13, 2007 - Uruguay 5, Bolivia 0
  • Oct. 17, 2007 - Paraguay 1, Uruguay 0
  • Nov. 18, 2007 - Uruguay 2, Chile 2
  • Nov. 21, 2007 - Brazil 2, Uruguay 1
  • June 14, 2008 - Uruguay 1, Venezuela 1
  • June 17, 2008 - Uruguay 6, Peru 0
  • Sept. 6, 2008 - Colombia 0, Uruguay 1
  • Sept. 10, 2008 - Uruguay 0, Ecuador 0
  • Oct. 11, 2008 - Argentina 2, Uruguay 1
  • Oct. 14, 2008 - Bolivia 2, Uruguay 2
  • March 28, 2009 - Uruguay 2, Paraguay 0
  • April 1, 2009 - Chile 0, Uruguay 0
  • June 6, 2009 - Uruguay 0, Brazil 4
  • June 10, 2009 - Venezuela 2, Uruguay 2
  • Sept. 9, 2009 - Uruguay 3, Colombia 1
  • Oct. 10, 2009 - Ecuador 1, Uruguay 2
  • Oct. 14, 2009 - Uruguay 0, Argentina 1
  • Nov. 14, 2009 - Costa Rica 0, Uruguay 1
  • Nov. 18, 2009 - Uruguay 1, Costa Rica 1


  • Number of Previous World Cup Appearances: 10
  • All-time record: 40 games played, 15 wins, 10 draws, 15 losses
  • Goals for: 65
  • Goals against: 57
  • Biggest victory: 8-0 vs. Bolivia in 1950
  • Biggest defeat: 6-1 vs. Denmark in 1986
  • Overall top scorer: Juan Schiaffino (7 goals)
  • Most appearances: Ladislao Mazurkiewicz (13 matches)
  • Hosted the World Cup: 1930

World Cup track record

  • 1930 - CHAMPIONS
  • 1934 - Did not enter
  • 1938 - Did not enter
  • 1950 - CHAMPIONS
  • 1954 - Semifinals (4th place)
  • 1958 - Did not qualify
  • 1962 - First Round
  • 1966 - Quarter-finals
  • 1970 - Semifinals (4th place)
  • 1974 - First Round
  • 1978 - Did not qualify
  • 1982 - Did not qualify
  • 1986 - Second Round
  • 1990 - Second Round
  • 1994 - Did not qualify
  • 1998 - Did not qualify
  • 2002 - First Round
  • 2006 - Did not qualify



  • FIFA member since: 1923
  • Team nickname: Charruas, La Celeste
  • All-time caps leader: Rodolfo Rodriguez (79)
  • All-time leading scorer: Hector Scarone (31 goals)

Notable Achievements

  • Copa America Champions: 1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1935, 1942, 1956, 1959, 1967, 1983, 1987, 1995
  • South American Youth Champions: 1954, 1958, 1964, 1975, 1977, 1979, 1981
  • Olympic Gold Medal: 1924, 1928

Legendary Players

  • Juan Alberto Schiaffino: Juan Alberto Schiaffino was one of the most skilled inside-forwards of the 1950s. Schiaffino scored seven goals for Uruguay at the World Cup, and netted five in the 1950 tournament in Brazil, leading Uruguay to its second title.
  • Obdulio Jacinto Varela: Nicknamed the "Negro Jefe" (Black Chief), Varela was the definitive centre-half of his era. He captained Uruguay to its second World Cup title in 1950 in Brazil and led Uruguayan club Peñarol to six league titles.