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Uruguay Team Preview and Prediction,
Group A - World Cup 2018

Image licensed from USA Today Sports

Coach: Óscar Tabárez

The two-time World Cup champions will appear at the biggest international competition for the 13th time after qualifying as the second-best team from South America behind Brazil, and they are hoping to get to the knockout stage for the third time in a row. Uruguay was the 4th in Germany 2010 but was stopped in the Round of 16 in Brazil 2014 as Columbia’s James Rodriguez sank them in the 1/8 finals with a brace.

Uruguay’s opponents

Uruguay was drawn in the Group A together with the hosts Russia, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, and they are the biggest favorites to finish at the top spot in a relatively easy group for them. Uruguay is the highest ranking team in the group in the 17th position in the FIFA world ranking, Egypt is in the 46th place, Russia is ranked in the 66th, while Saudi Arabia is the worst-ranked in the 70th spot.

Uruguay’s strengths

The head coach Óscar Tabárez has a couple of world-class strikers in his squad that can outscore any opponent as Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani combined for 92 goals for the national side, and each of them has a good chance to fight for the top goal-scorer in this year’s competition. On the other hand, Uruguay has a pair of center-backs who are playing together in Atletico Madrid for years now, and it is well-known that the Spanish side has one of the best defenses in Europe thanks to Diego Godin and José María Giménez. Alongside the full-back Maxi Pereira who is the most-capped Uruguayan player with 124 appearances, Tabarez has a strong defense that shouldn’t have problems holding the rivals such as Russia, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

Uruguay’s weaknesses

Perhaps the weakest part of the team, the midfield is not impressive as the attack or defense, as there are no superstars, with Cristian Rodríguez, Gastón Ramírez, Carlos Sánchez, and Matías Vecino projected to start in the middle of the park. Comparing it with other midfielders in the Group A, Uruguay shouldn’t have issues of progressing to the knockout stage, but the lack of quality in that segment of the game could be a problem later in the competition when they face more serious rivals.

MARKETS:

Winner: +3300

To Reach Semi-Finals: +400

To Reach Quarter-Finals: +162

Group Qualifying Yes/No: -500/+333

Group Phase Matches:

Home Away 1 Draw 2 O/U +2.5
Uruguay Egypt -143 +240 +450 +125/-163
Uruguay Saudi Arabia -350 +400 +1000 -118/-106
Uruguay Russia +140 +220 +200 +120/-154

Uruguay’s player to watch

Without a doubt, the individual who should attract the most of attention in this World Cup is a talismanic striker Luis Suarez who is well-known for his heroics when it comes to representing his country. Although he has a partner in the attack who scored more goals this season, Suarez’s 31 goals and 17 assists in 50 appearances for Barcelona in the 2017/18 still makes him one of the deadliest forwards in soccer, and he should star in Russia this summer.

Uruguay’s World Cup 2018 Prediction

La Celeste is the biggest favorite to reach the Round of 16 out of the unattractive Group A, but their problems could start in the 1/8 finals where they will likely meet Spain or Portugal who are playing in the Group B. The knockout phase is the realistic goal for Uruguay, but I won’t be surprised if they manage to beat one of the aforementioned sides to reach the ¼ finals, where they could have an easier job to get to the semis. Failing to get through the Group A would be a huge disappointment for them, but that shouldn’t happen, considering the strength of their opponents.

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