Uruguay will try to upset the football world once again

It’s almost time for the World Cup 2022. To help you prepare, we’ll provide you with valuable information about every team in the tournament. You can read all our World Cup previews here.


I didn’t come into football the way a man of my age should come into football. I never played in organized youth leagues, my understanding of the game was forged, rather flimsy, in parking lots, backyards and after-school fields. I had no idea of ​​its European outposts until well into my twenties. My earliest soccer memories, aside from lazy pickup games, are sitting in my friend’s tiled home in South Florida, a random soccer game on Telemundo playing in the background, while she explained to me in the lexicon of American teenage girls why Uruguay, La Celestewas the best team in the world.

Sure, Brazil had more World Cups. And yes, Argentina had Maradona. And she wouldn’t even let me consider European teams because, ugh, Europe, poor! She told me stories about how it was brave Uruguay who won the first World Cup. It was a heroic Uruguay that pulled off one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history. Here was Uruguay – a tiny nation of around 3.4 million people, sandwiched between two soccer powerhouses – somehow finding a way to produce elite talent and compete at the highest level. How is this possible? She would tell me: It’s because Uruguayans love football that a lot They will make their way to greatness. They play with passion. They leave their hearts on the field.

You could say she and her family won me over. I can admit now that at first it was just because I liked being at her house and not rooting in Uruguay in a Uruguayan house seemed rude. But over time I really started to believe. Because a country of this size has no business being this good at football. You can read about this phenomenon on Sky Sports or New York Timeswhere they will spend many words trying to tell you what my friend told me: Uruguay loves football that a lot

Uruguay barely qualified for the tournament this year. After a string of defeats, Uruguay had finished seventh in South American qualifying, long-time coach Óscar Tabárez was sacked and replaced by Diego Alonso. With Alonso at the helm, the team took four victories en route to qualifying. This is one reason why there is still some mystery surrounding exactly how Uruguay will play at the tournament, with their new leader in place for just under a year. But the time for worry is over. La Celeste am in.

I texted my friend the night before I dropped this off and asked her what she wanted people to know about her beloved team. She said: “They still play with heart and respect other teams. And football is still a real sport there.”

All these years later, and this year of course, I still notice La Celeste. It reminds me of sitting on a tile floor, eating a snack, and feeling like anything is possible. Because if tiny Uruguay can be this good at soccer, maybe it is.

Who is their main man?

La Celeste, like any other national football team you may know, is in a period of change. The Soldiers are older but still have some good games left while the next generation is coming up, but not quite at the level where they can take over the entire squad. So there are the familiar names you’d expect: Strikers Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani—once the young faces of Uruguay’s golden generation—both return for their fourth World Cups. You know them if you’ve followed, well, any European football before, with Cavani hanging his hat at Paris Saint-Germain, then Manchester United, while Suárez played for Liverpool, then Barcelona. They are not top notch but they make up for it in international experience.

(Quick but necessary aside. You might too note know Suárez for his goals. You might know him for biting people three times on the field. You may also remember him for his racial slur when he called Manchester United’s Patrice Evra.negro“; Suárez wrote in his autobiography that he was not a racist and did not understand the meaning of the word in English. For all his talents and achievements, these are also part of Suárez’s legacy.)

The ones at the top are Federico Valverde and Rodrigo Bentancur who can do everything from Uruguay. Their names will be familiar if you follow Real Madrid (Valverde) or Tottenham Hotspur (Bentancur). Valverde is a three-dimensional midfielder who has also scored six goals and two assists already this season for Real Madrid, including this absolute rocket launch. Over in England, Bentancur has four goals and two assists, incl this goal to give Spurs victory over Leeds. But don’t let the pretty borders fool you; Athletic once headlined him with the apt description: “A fighter who loves to make tackles and loves the ugly side of the game.”

Who is their main goal scorer?

Ah, yes, because you see with all this firepower we still haven’t caught the player who is possibly the most exciting Uruguay: Darwin Núñez. The forward joined Liverpool in the summer from Benfica (reportedly for £64m). It took some time, much to the chagrin of Liverpool fans, for Núñez to find his rhythm in the Premier League but when he did, the goals came. Despite starting the season with a dry spell, he sits sixth in the league in goals per 90 minutes and rises to fourth when you include penalties. But enough with the statistics and cool football words! Let’s look at the beautiful border!

Where is The Beef?

What team or players does Uruguay not like? Do Uruguay players like each other? We investigate their potential enemies.

Is it just a coincidence or a sign of greater forces at work (or, this being FIFA, bribery) that Uruguay ended up in the same category this year as Ghana? If you watch sports for the drama, storylines, heated staredowns and one percent chance of a fight, this is the matchup for you.

To understand how two countries separated by roughly 4,500 miles could have such a feud, we have to go back to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Ghana and Uruguay met in the quarter-finals and the winner advanced to the semi-finals. Every other team in Africa had already been eliminated from the tournament, making Ghana the last team standing in the tournament, the first World Cup to be played on the continent. The Black Stars scored first, with Sulley Muntari’s goal, and La Celeste responded 10 minutes later with a shot from Diego Forlán. And then, silence, as the game entered the 120th minute, towards the end of extra time, still tied, nothing decided.

Then the handball. And the penalty. Just watch.

Ghana would not recover. It lost to Uruguay on penalties.

The rematch is scheduled for 10am ET/7am PT on December. 2. Uruguay has the highest FIFA ranking but as Ghana would be the first to tell you, at the World Cup anything is possible. “When the draw was made and they saw Uruguay in Ghana’s group [in Qatar] the only thing that came to mind was revenge,” Asamoah Gyan told the BBC. “Ghanaians want revenge.”

(Uruguay also has a beef with Portugal for knocking them out of the 2018 World Cup, so there’s a lot of beef in this group. However, I’m not going to go into that as this chapter is already pretty long, plus (It’s a simple beef and I don’t want to miss my deadline. Uruguay also has a beef with Brazil, and you’ll learn more about why below.)

Most likely to go David Ospina or James Rodriguez Mode?

Who is Uruguay’s best candidate for a career-changing play-off performance? Could this potential post-tournament transfer be successful, like when Colombian James Rodriguez left for Real Madrid after playing at the 2014 World Cup? Or could it go badly, like when Colombian David Ospina left for Arsenal after playing at the 2014 World Cup?

Get ready to learn this name: Giorgian de Arrascaeta. De Arrascaeta may be a new name to Europhiles, having spent his professional career in Brazil, but this World Cup is the attacking midfielder’s time to wow the rest of the world. His signing with Flamengo in 2019 helped kick off one of his best recent seasons, including the 2019 Copa Libertadores and both the Copa do Brasil and Copa Libertadores this year. His dribbling is beautiful. His deliveries, sublime. But then again, why waste time on words when we can look at some amazing highlights.

David Ospina Mode Likelihood Rating: Remember, I’m completely on the tank for La Celeste. Therefore 0.

James Rodríguez Mode Likelihood Rating: 10,000. Duh.

Fun geographic fact

It has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Why I haven’t gone, I don’t know. Don’t be like me and know this most of your life and just put it off until a “better time.” Go away!

Credit: Jimmy Baikovicius/Flickr via Wikimedia
Punta del Este, Uruguay

Good flag or bad flag?

Great flag! Too many flags detract from the same playbook. They pick a few blocks of color, throw them on the flag in stripes and call it a day. How do I keep all these flags clear? Who said flags have to be all stripes? What does a citizen of Earth have to do to get a flag with some originality here? Fortunately, Uruguay has answered the call. I love the joy of the sun and I love to put it in the upper left corner. Bold choice! And make bold choices for great flags!

Good national anthem or bad national anthem?

Great national anthem! That is Bohemian Rhapsody of national anthems. It has highs, it has lows, it has soft parts, it has parts that seem destined to be bound deep in the human spirit, and then you think it might be over and—oh wait—it hits you with one last verse! In terms of staves, it is the longest national anthem in the world. You must simply respect the audacity of this anthem, tell tyrants to tremble, demand freedom or death, and proclaim that we will fulfill the vow the soul expresses. An anthem worth blasting from your car stereo and jamming with your friends.

A remarkable moment in World Cup history

Brazil. 1950. At least 174,000 ecstatic Brazilian fans (some sources put it well over 200,000) packed into the brand new Maracanã stadium, built especially for this event. They were there to witness the coronation of what was to be Brazil’s first World Cup victory, heralding Brazil as one of the next great world soccer powerhouses, a force that would rival any other soccer-loving nation in the world.

The coronation would have to wait. Uruguay’s starters beat Brazil 2-1. In the video, the crowd can be seen barely moving as Uruguay’s players celebrate the seemingly impossible suddenly becoming not only possible but a reality.

Alcides Ghiggia, who scored the game-winning goal, later said: “Three men have silenced the Maracanã — Frank Sinatra, the Pope and me.” This is one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history.

Brazil has won many World Cups. But don’t let the wins fool you. They are also still the only team to lose a World Cup final at home. The loss is so legendary that Puma, the kit sponsor of the Uruguay men’s national team, made an entire ad around it before Brazil hosted the 2014 World Cup. Locally, the ghost of the 1950s haunts the Brazilians while wearing, of course, sky blue.

How can they win the World Cup?

Uruguay are expected to make it out of the group stage, but from there the gauntlet could be daunting. If they don’t win their group in Portugal, their next opponent is likely favorites Brazil. Getting past them could make things interesting for Uruguay, but it’s hard to imagine against FIFA no. 1 team.

That said, Uruguay achieved 1950 in an upset against Selection. They also won the first World Cup, in 1930. If there is any team, any country that is built for World Cup miracles, it is Uruguay. Soy celeste, soy celeste. Damn Celeste!

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