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DARK HORSES

Uruguay are fronted by two deadly strikers and a defence marshalled by one of the very best

Drawn in a favourable looking group, the team in sky blue have the players to give anyone a run for their money in Russia

Oh check you out, backing Germany, Brazil or Spain to win the World Cup.

How original.

In the build-up to the World Cup we’re going to be taking a look at the dark horses.

And once we’re done at the stables, we’re going to write articles about the teams with an outside chance of Doing a Madness™ in Russia.


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Next up, Uruguay, so cover your limbs as the following contains Luis Suarez.

Bloody good team

AFP
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Bloody good team

Having qualified in style from the South American knockout tournament, Uruguay, ranked 17th in the world, will fancy their chances of causing an upset in Russia.

Armed with a brilliantly balanced squad, the Sky Blues are definitely one-to-watch this summer.

Manager, 72-year-old Oscar Tabarez, who has been at the helm since 2006, will take charge of the side for one final World Cup.

How will they line-up and are they worth watching?

Uruguay lined up in a 4-2-2-2 formation for much of their qualifying campaign.

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The system allows Edinson Cavani to start in his preferred striker position, having played much of the season at PSG out wide, in order to accommodate Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

Cavani will play alongside former Liverpool man and everyone’s favourite carnivore, Suarez.

The pair will link up to form one of the most mouthwatering partnerships at the tournament, with a combined 92 goals in 197 international appearances between them.

Nightmarish

PA:Press Association
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Nightmarish

Cristian Rodriguez and Nahitan Nandez will provide the support from the wide areas.

Rodriguez has been a stalwart for his country since making his debut in 2003 and has racked up over 100 caps.

A rare slip for Steven Gerrard

Getty - Contributor
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A rare slip for Steven Gerrard

At 32-years-old, the former Atletico Madrid man is likely to be making his World Cup swansong in Russia.

Diego Godin will captain the side and form part of a formidable looking back-line.

Get a man who can do both

Handout
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Get a man who can do both

The Atletico defender and full-time brick wall, will marshal the defence and it’s safe to say that very little will be getting past him.

Who should we be looking out for and are there any familiar faces?

When you eventually manage to look past the formidable strike partnership on display, you realise that Uruguay are as good defensively as they are in attack.

Jose Gimenez, who has had a phenomenal season for Atletico, formed an unbreakable partnership at the back alongside his countryman, Godin.

They must be sick of the sight of each other

Getty Images - Getty
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They must be sick of the sight of each other

The fact that the pair play together every week for their club and have built up such chemistry, will prove invaluable for Uruguay this summer.

Godin and his prodigy Gimenez, will form one of the most in-form partnerships in the tournament.

Rodrigo Bentancur will be tasked with pulling the strings in the centre.

The metronome midfielder has had an impressive debut season for Juventus after signing from Boca Juniors.

Cultured midfielder

Getty Images - Getty
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Cultured midfielder

The 20-year-old made 27 appearances in all competitions for the Turin Giants, and is already attracting interest from other top clubs around Europe.

Uruguay’s record cap holder, Maxi Pereira, is expected to play in his final World Cup for the Sky Blues, albeit not as a guaranteed starter.


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The 33-year-old has racked up an impressive 124 caps for his country.

Name a bigger Uruguayan legend (apart from Diego Forlan), I’ll wait.

I’ve got no problem with you snapping Alexis Sanchez, mate

Reuters
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I’ve got no problem with you snapping Alexis Sanchez, mate

Often overlooked for both club and country, Cavani is a bit of an underappreciated genius.

The PSG man took on added responsibility last season following a lengthy injury to Neymar.

They just love biting stuff

Reuters
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They just love biting stuff

Cavani scored 28 goals in all competitions for the Paris side, three more than his countryman, Suarez, who netted 25 times for Barcelona.

Maybe Cavani is the one who we should all be backing to guide Uruguay to World Cup glory this summer, not Suarez?

Step aside, mate

Esteban Felix
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Step aside, mate

What is their recent tournament history and how did they qualify for Russia?

World Cup

2002: Group stages.

2006: Failed to qualify.

2010: Fourth place.

2014: Round of 16.

Copa America

2007: Fourth place.

2011: Champions.

2015: Quarter-finals.

2016: Group stages.

Their most recent World Cup showing in 2014 will bring back some dark memories for England fans.

The Three Lions were effectively knocked out of their group after Suarez capitalised on a Gerrard mistake to win the match for Uruguay late on.

The Sky Blues disappointed in the next round however, crashing out after a 2-0 defeat to Colombia in what was originally a winnable game on paper.

James, James Bond, scored THAT wonder goal to send Uruguay packing

Getty Images - Getty
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James, James Bond, scored THAT wonder goal to send Uruguay packing

Uruguay made light work of getting out of the very competitive South American qualifying tournament.

Tabarez’s side clinched second place behind Brazil, but ahead of Argentina, winning six of their 18 matches, drawing four and losing five along the way.

Is 2018 suited to them?

If Uruguay were to top Group A, then the runner up of Group B, (either Spain or Portugal), will be waiting in the round of 16.

A quarter-final date with France would then be the likely outcome for the winner. If you are to believe the FIFA world rankings.

In terms of the South Americans adjusting to the climate, it might take them some time to get used to the cold weather and the rogue bears roaming about the streets of Russia.

You would back Suarez against this lot though

AP:Associated Press
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You would back Suarez against this lot though

Any other reasons to be optimistic?

The fans of Uruguay are expected to travel to Russia in their droves.

It’s safe to say they made quite the impression during the last world cup.

I have no doubts that they will go “full Delia” and suitably provide the “twelfth man out there.”

What is going on here?

PA:Press Association
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What is going on here?

Seriously, WTF

EPA
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Seriously, WTF

Right, that’s it. I’m done here

Getty Images - Getty
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Right, that’s it. I’m done here

Are they worth a punt?

You can back Uruguay to be crowned World Cup winners at 28/1 with SunBets.

Let’s hope Suarez keeps himself to himself this time!

My favourite World Cup moment, ever

Getty Images - Getty
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My favourite World Cup moment, ever

Visit the rest of the stables


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