With the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicking off on Sunday, it’s time to explore our dark horse Cinderella pick for the tournament – underrated Uruguay.
Every day until November 20th, we’ll explore a different team represented in this year’s tournament, from Group A to Group H, including predictions about where they’ll end up.
Yesterday, we looked at one of Group H’s biggest underdogs – Ghana. Now we’ll explore a team we expect to go deep – Luis Suárez’s Uruguay.
Nickname: La Celeste, The Sky Blue
Colors: Sky blue, white, gold
Coach: Diego Alonso (Uruguay)
Uruguay is top-heavy with talent. In the back, they have Atletico Madrid’s José Giménez and Ronald Araújo of Barca, though it’s unclear whether Araújo will fully recover from a recent surgery in time or not. Tottenham’s Bencantur leads the midfield alongside Federico Valverde, who has been having a hell of a season with Real Madrid.
Uruguay’s real depth is in attackers – veteran Luis Suárez returns to the national team a hero after helping his hometown club win the domestic league. He and fellow veteran Edinson Cavani will help facilitate a possible Golden Boot candidate – the young, dynamic, and in-form Darwin Núñez.
Qatar will be the 14th World Cup appearance for Uruguay, who won the tournament twice in 1930 and 1950. In 2018, Uruguay reached the quarterfinals, only to be knocked out by eventual champion, France.
Uruguay is 7-1-1 in 2022, with wins over Mexico and Canada. Uruguay’s CONCACAF conquering tour came to an end with the USMNT, though, who they tied 0-0. In what seems like a fluke, La Celeste lost to Iran in September, 1-0.
Tournament Prediction: Semifinals loss to France.
Uruguay is poised to go deep on the backs of Valverde, Bencantur, Suarez, Cavani, and Nunez.
The Sky Blue open against South Korea, who we pick as the Group H runner-up, on November 24. Uruguay will either win or tie this one before upsetting Portugal in their second match-up. Uruguay should squeeze past Ghana as well, leaving the group stage with between 7-9 points.
Uruguay will meet and defeat Switzerland in the round of 16, followed by an upset win over Belgium in the quarterfinals. They will run into their old nemesis France in the semifinals, and, unfortunately for Uruguayans everywhere, they will likely lose again, just like in 2018.
Featured Image: Generated Image: DALL-E 2/UruguayNationalFootballTeam/DM