Factfile on Uruguay who are in World Cup Group H:
Best World Cup performance: Winners in 1930, 1950.
Other honours: Copa America winners in 1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1935, 1942, 1956, 1959, 1967, 1983, 1987, 1995, 2011.
FIFA ranking: 14.
Main clubs: Penarol, Nacional, Defensor Sporting, Danubio.
How they qualified: Uruguay finished third in the single South American qualification group.
Coach: Diego Alonso, 47, was appointed in December last year after iconic veteran boss Oscar Tabarez — who guided Uruguay to their last Copa America success — was sacked following a disastrous run of qualifying defeats. Alonso’s impact was immediate, following four straight defeats from Tabarez’s last games in charge with four successive victories. The ‘Tornado’ had saved Uruguay’s qualification campaign. “Everyone says that the most important thing in football is winning,” he told La Diaria newspaper in September. “I go one step further: the most important thing in football is preparing to win.”
Key player: With Uruguay’s top two goalscorers of all time, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, both 35 and playing in their last World Cup, Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde is the new talisman for this team. Now 24, the hard-working six-foot tall central midfielder is crucial for club and country. Already a Champions League winner and two-time Spanish champion, Valverde’s increasingly mature performances have made him the key cog in Alonso’s team.
November 24: Uruguay v South Korea.
November 28: Portugal v Uruguay.
December 2: Ghana v Uruguay.
Goalkeepers: Sergio Rochet (Nacional), Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray/TUR), Sebastian Sosa (Independiente/ARG).
Defenders: Jose Luis Rodriguez (Nacional), Guillermo Varela (Flamengo/BRA), Ronald Araujo (Barcelona/ESP), Jose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid/ESP), Sebastian Coates (Sporting Lisbon/POR), Diego Godin (Velez Sarsfield/ARG), Martin Caceres (Los Angeles Galaxy/USA), Matias Vina (Roma/ITA), Mathias Olivera (Napolei/ITA).
Midfielders: Matias Vecino (Lazio/ITA), Rodrigo Bentancur (Tottenham/ENG), Federico Valverde (Real Madrid/ESP), Lucas Torreira (Galatasaray/TUR), Manuel Ugarte (Sporting Lisbon/POR), Facundo Pellistri (Manchester United/ENG), Nicolas De la Cruz (River Plate/ARG), Giorgian de Arrascaeta (Flamengo/BRA), Agustín Canobbio (Athletico Paranaense/BRA), Facundo Torres (Orlando City/USA).
Forwards: Darwin Nunez (Liverpool/ENG), Luis Suarez (Nacional), Edinson Cavani (Valencia/ESP), Maximiliano Gomez (Trabzonspor/TUR).
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