GROUP D
Uruguay

THE 60-SECOND OVERVIEW

The Celeste team is built on the foundations of the successful 2010 World Cup campaign, with the added bonus of Luis Suarez coming into his absolute prime. Always positive, gaffer Oscar Tabarez is convinced that this squad didn’t need fresh blood. Diego Lugano is still captain, Arevalo Rios is still his midfield general and Diego Forlan is still reliable in attack, thanks to his wonderful free-kicks.

The recipe won’t change much from last time: Uruguay will bet on solid defending, won’t be desperate for possession, and will bide their time and attack space. The more markers Suarez attracts, the more room Cavani & Co. will find.

THE DREAM

One Word: Maracanazo. To repeat Uruguay’s unlikely 1950 defeat of Brazil at a rammed Maracana and become world champions again is the stuff of fantasy. For Uruguayans, to “pull off a Maracanazo” isn’t just a historical reference, it's an everyday phrase meaning that there is always hope, no matter what your circumstances.

Escaping the Group of Death will be the first stage of any 2014 version, and any victories will strengthen their hopes. In reality, they have a solid team who are far from favourites – the idea of anyone writing them off is the country’s most powerful motivation.

THE NIGHTMARE

Fall at the first hurdle. While everybody is thinking about beating Italy and England, or making Brazilians cry again, they might be forgetting the fact that Uruguay make their debut against Costa Rica.

So-called easy games give Uruguayans the creeps, and Costa Rica proved to be a very difficult side to beat in their playoff for South Africa 2010. Then, Uruguay took the three points thanks to a Diego Lugano goal away from home, but suffered until the final whistle in the hard-fought 1-1 in Montevideo. An upset in that first fixture could devastate team morale.

THE STATS
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PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

SEE RED: MARTIN CACERES

The Juventus man is a "wholehearted" defender, which as ever means that sometimes his scything tackles go over the top. He sent Demy de Zeeuw to the dentist in South Africa 2010, and last season kicked Cristiano Ronaldo in the face last season.

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

DRINK MATE IN A PRESS CONFERENCE: WALTER GARGANO

Uruguayans love to drink mate (pronounced mar-tay), their version of tea. Luis Suarez chugged a cup during his recent FourFourTwo cover interview, while midfielder Gargano once showed up with a Thermos to the Vatican – and Pope Francis asked him for a sip.

PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...

SAVE A PENALTY: FERNANDO MUSLERA

The Galatasaray keeper is a specialist: he saved two against Ghana in South Africa 2010 and one against Argentina in the quarters of Copa America 2011. His victims include Carlos Tevez, Nani, Jackson Martinez and Neymar.

DID YOU KNOW?

Uruguay fans recently created “the Ghost of 1950”, a series of films mocking Brazilians that has become an internet hit. Captain Diego Lugano criticised the move, however, claiming it was contrary to the team’s favoured low profile.

Tweet this...

They're in a tough group but are tournament-savvy and Luis Suarez is in the form of his life. They couldn't "do a 1950" again... could they?