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Uruguay: Outsiders with a true fighting spirit

5 June 2018
Boasting two victories and being present 13 out of 21 times, Uruguay is a household name at the FIFA World Cup. What will Russia 2018 have in store for the first ever World Cup winners? Remiqz shows that Uruguay are the seasoned outsiders for the title.
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Chances of winning

Using our unique simulation tool, Remiqz is able to predict the course of the World Cup. According to our calculations, Uruguay closes our list of ten favourites with 1.1% chance of lifting the iconic FIFA World Cup Trophy.

Uruguay find themselves in Group A, the weakest of the eight groups. Host country Russia is the most notable opponent and likely to go through alongside Uruguay, with Egypt and Saudi Arabia going home after three matches. Uruguay has an 88.4% chance of progressing to the last 16, where it is likely that they will face either Spain or Portugal.

Selection

Uruguay manager Óscar Tabárez, who is 71 years old, will be the oldest manager at this year’s World Cup. This will be the fourth World Cup Uruguay have played with Tabárez at the helm. La Celeste have never failed to get out of the group stage under his guidance, reaching the last 16 twice, and the semi-finals once. It is clear that Tabárez is a man who has extensive knowledge of the players at his disposal.

For a country that has a population of a little over three million, the squad has an abundance of players playing at Europe’s top clubs, with players from FC Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Atlético Madrid, Juventus and Inter Milan. This is reflected in the average Euro Player Index (EPI) of the squad, which stands at 3184.

Tabáraz has left vastly talented players like Mauricio Pereyra (FK Krasnodar, EPI 3147) and Gastón Pereiro (PSV Eindhoven, EPI 2860) at home, presumably because he favours experience and physical prowess over raw talent.

Playing style

Tabarez’s side is all about combining a sturdy defence with top quality up front. Their main focus is to prevent the opponent from scoring and it is reflected in the way they set up; Uruguay play a narrow 4-4-2 out of possession. The central duo at the back Diego Godín and José Gimenez play together at Atlético Madrid, which is a huge advantage, while goalkeeper Fernando Muslera is reliable and experienced.

When they win the ball, La Celeste aim to play quick and direct balls to their wonderful yet ageing striking pair of Luis Suárez and Edison Cavani. With their respective EPI-values of 6013 and 5024, they are both amongst the top-10 of all forwards. Uruguay don’t play with true wingers in their 4-4-2; one of the outside midfielders tucks in to create central overloads and protect the team against counter attacks.

With four players already over a 100-caps in the starting line-up, this is a very experienced squad that can also look old and lacking energy if things don’t work out as expected. No team will have an easy time scoring against Fernando Muslera and his seasoned defence. With a capable defence and players like Suárez and Cavani up front, Uruguay are the seasoned outsiders at the World Cup.

(Images by Pro Shots)