Why There's More To Uruguay Than Just Luis Suarez And Edinson Cavani

Why There's More To Uruguay Than Just Luis Suarez And Edinson Cavani
15:00, 03 Jun 2018

Ever since Uruguay won the inaugural World Cup on home soil in 1930 there has been an expectation across the whole of this small but very proud nation.

They have gone on to develop a reputation (somewhat harshly) as a team that bends the rules in order to win but given they have a population of under 3.5 million people they are surely allowed some slack.

The current Uruguay squad has been arguably their most talented in their illustrious history and there was a genuine belief at the 2014 World Cup that they could challenge the big guns of world football and maybe even win it.

But then Luis Suarez intervened by sinking his teeth into the tough shoulder of Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini and that somewhat derailed their bid for glory.

An immediate ban followed and Uruguay limped out in the last 16, losing 2-0 to the impressive Colombian side spearheaded by James Rodriguez.

Qualification for Russia started poorly for Uruguay but in the last 12 to 18 months they have picked up and look once again like a force to be reckoned with.

While for many of this talented squad it will be their last chance to shine on the world stage, it is in the young players coming through that Uruguay’s fate could hinge.

A solid back five including Diego Godin and Fernando Muslera and a potent attack are all seasoned veterans of international football but it is in midfield where there is a distinct lack of experience.

But in 20-year-old Juventus midfielder, Rodrigo Bentancur, they may have just found the answer to their problems.

The criticism had been that they would not have a decent enough shield for the defence or anybody able to supply the potent attacking threat of Suarez and Cavani with the ball.

Bentacur can do just that. While there is huge pressure on such young shoulders he has shown signs of delivering of late and he could well be the key to their success.

If they win Group A as expected they could face a showdown with Portugal or Spain. If they can get past that challenge they will feel they are in with a shout.

Like any side they will need a bit of luck but it would be magical if Uruguay could pull off something spectacular.