Uruguay is in an interesting position. They have star-power, proven winners, a rich footballing history, but also a huge hole right in the middle of their lineup. This is a side that, when you look at their striking ability, shouldn’t have any trouble scoring goals. The problem will be figuring out how to get the ball far enough up the field to give Cavani and Suarez opportunities to do this. With a fresh crop of midfielders who lack a ton of international experience, that’s going to be a massive hole they’ll need to work around.
– Saudi Arabia
Diego Godin: Widely considered as one of the top defenders in the world, Atletico Madrid’s Diego Godin is the backbone of Uruguayan team. A leader on and off the pitch, Godin, who beat out the likes of Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos for Best Defender in La Liga this past season, has to be at his best if Uruguay have any hope of moving any meaningful distance in the tournament. He helped Atletico to the best goals against record and that proves he’s capable to do it against the best in the world. His own teammate, Luis Suarez, describes him as a complete nuisance on the pitch. That bodes well for the Uruguayan back liner as he’ll need to carry that quality all the way through. Combined with his history of scoring big goals, and the lack of experience in Uruguay’s midfield, he may be asked to take on even more responsibility up the field.
“Nothing thrills me less than playing against Atlético. They’re so annoying and Godín is a nuisance; he’s always there next to me, he never leaves me alone.”
– Luis Suárez
Edinson Cavani: Don’t let those flowing locks distract you – this is one of the most lethal finishers in world football. Coming off a 27-goal campaign with PSG, Cavani won’t be solely depended on to score goals as he has some help up there, but with that help comes the need to adjust his game a tad. Similar to Godin’s need to move up the pitch a bit, Cavani may need to slide back to receive the ball more. It’s a change for him but not one he couldn’t do. Look for Cavani and his striking partner to be up there in the Golden Boot race.
Luis Suarez: It’s that time again that Luis ‘the vampire’ Suarez is back in the international limelight. While fair-weather fans remember him solely for his bites-capades™, true fans realize just how clinical of a finisher he can be. To go along with that, his time in Barcelona with Lionel Messi have provided him a platform to highlight his distribution abilities, which should prove incredibly valuable alongside Cavani. Not a ton needs to be said about his abilities on the pitch, let’s just hope for Uruguay’s sake, that remains the story when all is said and done.
To me, Uruguay has come away from the group draw very lucky. They should be walking away with 1st place and move on with no issues as there isn’t a clear rival in their group to knock them out. While it won’t an easy task per se, I’d venture a guess that they’d be heavily disappointed not to make it out of the first stage.