Uruguay: World Cup 2014 team guide, by The Guadian
Likely to take on greater prominence as Luis Suárez fights for fitness, Edinson Cavani is a card-carrying A-lister anyway. Quick and physically strong, he is a potent finisher, who exists to score goals, according to his team-mates. His numbers at Paris Saint-Germain after his £55m mega-move from Napoli were impressive – 22 goals in 34 starts in all competitions – even if there was the suspicion that he was not always entirely happy at the club.
One for the Premier League
Abel Hernández of Palermo is quick, tall and powerful, a 23-year-old striker with tricks and a nose for the spectacular. He is a little like Danny Welbeck, raw and exciting, if in need of greater composure. Hernández's agent says that he will leave Palermo in the summer.
The bad boy
Contrary to stereotype, this is quite a well-behaved Uruguay squad, with few disciplinary issues. Paolo Montero, the one-time Juventus hard man who won 61 caps from 1991-2005, would not be impressed. But there is Luis Suárez. You might have heard of him.
The weakest link
A lack of creativity in central midfield is a problem. Diego Pérez, nicknamed "Ruso" (The Russian) is beginning to show his vintage at 34 and lacks pace. He is partnered alongside another thirtysomething in Egidio "Cacha" (handle) Arévalo Rios, who plays his football in Mexico. Both have tackles for first touches.
Óscar Tabárez has the Roy Hodgson-esque knack of giving press conference answers that ramble over several pages of a notebook. But the 67-year-old is not known as El Maestro in Uruguay for nothing. In his first spell in charge, from 1988-90, he helped to rehabilitate his country's reputation for footballing brutality – he also took the team to the last 16 of the Italy World Cup – while his second coming from 2006 has been something of a golden period. Semi-finalists at the last World Cup, Tabárez went on to win the Copa America in 2011.
Uruguay have a settled and compact look, normally with two screening midfielders in front of the back four, which helps to ensure that Diego Godín and captain Diego Lugano are not exposed for their lack of pace in central defence. It is up front where they pack a punch, typically on the counterattack and few nations can boast a more fearsome pair of strikers. Suárez was the top scorer in South American qualification with 11 goals and Cavani also has the big-game pedigree.
Uruguayans look on Argentina as one might do a bullying older brother and any opportunity to bloody their knees is eagerly taken. There is a rich history to the rivalry. Behind England v Scotland, it is the oldest international on the calendar and, until Brazil won the 1958 World Cup, it was Uruguay and Argentina who dominated South American football. They share borders, a language and plenty of cultural stuff and, when they collide, the intensity burns. They do, however, tend to root for each other on the global stage, particularly when one of them plays a big European nation. So exactly like England and Scotland, then …
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