Featured

Second Teams: Uruguay

Editor’s note: This post is part of PSP’s World Cup series, in which PSP’s writers and a few honored guests make the case for which team you should root for in the World Cup after the United States. Read the full series here.

When the USA is not playing, Uruguay should be the team you root in the 2014 World Cup.

Real Group of Death

I didn’t agree when, after the World Cup draw, Group G — with the US, Germany, Portugal, and Ghana — was named the Group of Death. To me, Group D — with Uruguay, Italy, England, and Costa Rica — was the real Group of Death.

Well, the latest FIFA rankings before the World Cup came around to my way of thinking, with Group D’s average ranking of 13.5 half a point lower than Group G’s average ranking of 14. Uruguay (7), Italy (9), and England (10), are all in the top 10 of FIFA’s World Rankings, and Costa Rica (28) has put together its best team in recent history. Costa Rica advancing is probably a long-shot, but choosing between the other three is almost impossible. All three play extremely different styles of soccer, and each match-up will be some of the best games in the group stages.

Costa Rica’s shock 3-1 win over Uruguay last Saturday only confirmed Group D is filled with quality.

Uruguay crestDeadly attacking trio

Uruguay’s offense still has a chance to do something special.

First and foremost, Luis Suarez, who says he is 100 percent ready to go against England on Thursday, is probably the best true forward going into the tournament. He led the EPL in goals this season, and the goals he scored were absolute stunners. There were questions of a knee injury setback that have come to fruition, which means others have to step up in his absence.

The next piece to the Uruguayan attack is Edinson Cavani. The PSG man is full of pace and will look to beat players down the flanks and then cut into the middle of the pitch. He scored 16 goals in only 30 games for PSG and looks ready to go after playing great in the teams recent friendlies.

The final player in the attack is the savvy veteran, Diego Forlán. This will likely be Forlán’s last world cup, but don’t be fooled by his age. He still possesses great creativity and can pass off a lot of the labor to the faster Suarez and Cavani.

Redemption

Many thought that Uruguay advancing to the semifinals of the 2010 World Cup was accomplished through some unsportsmanlike means. Suarez prevented a clear goal in the waning moments of extra time in the quarterfinal game against Ghana by blocking the ball off the line with his hand. The ref handled the situation correctly by giving Suarez a red card and awarding Ghana a penalty kick. Had Asamoah Gyan converted the PK, Ghana surely would have moved onto the semifinals. Instead, Uruguay would win the penalty kick shootout after the end of extra time to move on face the Netherlands in the semifinals, losing 3-2.

Making it to the final four is still a great achievement no matter who the team is, but Uruguay will feel that they have more to give. They have a hill to climb after this past weekend’s stunning loss against Costa Rica, but the hill is not insurmountable.

In fact, they have the squad to do it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

%d bloggers like this: