Uruguay might be the dark horses to go all the way at the FIFA World Cup 2022, and we analyse their prospects.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 began on November 20 at the Al Bayt Stadium. It was the first time the host nation lost the opening game of the tournament as Qatar went down to Ecuador. While the result was not surprising as such considering the quality of both teams, it could be a sign of things to come.
Argentina were then stunned by Saudi Arabia, and Germany have lost out to Japan. One would assume that there are many more surprises coming our way as the tournament progresses.
Fans and pundits across the globe have already listed their favourites to win the competition. While Brazil and Argentina are being regarded as the creme de la creme, a certain South American underdog could turn a lot of heads in Qatar.
Here at The Hard Tackle, we look at why Uruguay are the team to watch out for. La Celeste have an exceptional squad at their disposal and they will be the dark horses in the 2022 edition of the World Cup.
Perfect blend of youth and experience
Uruguay are one of the very few teams at the FIFA World Cup 2022 with the ideal blend of youth and experience. La Celeste have experienced campaigners like Diego Godin, and Luis Suarez leading the way for talented young players like Darwin Nunez and Federico Valverde.
The maturity and experience of handling pressure in the biggest of platforms, coupled with the determination and enthusiasm of youth leaves Uruguay in good stead.
Diego Alonso has a well-balanced squad from back to front with no glaring weakness in any particular area. While the defence boasts players like Ronald Araujo, Godin and Jose Maria Gimenez, the midfield has proven stars like Rodrigo Bentancur and Valverde who have been exceptional at the club level this season. As for the attack, Suarez and Nunez could tear apart any defence on their day.
Proven match-winners and big game performers
Uruguay have a number of players who have played at the highest level on a consistent basis. Players like Diego Godin, Luis Suarez, Jose Maria Gimenez, Federico Valverde, Darwin Nunez, and Ronald Araujo are used to challenging for trophies, and they have the experience of performing under the burden of expectations.
Valverde and Nunez are proven match-winners at the club level this season, and Luis Suarez’s achievements speak volumes about his ability to deliver when it matters most. Uruguay have players who can step up and deliver when the chips are down. In a knockout tournament like the World Cup, it could be an invaluable quality to have.
Sense of unity and pride
A small country of three-and-a-half million people, Uruguay have always had a fierce sense of national pride. Having won the FIFA World Cup twice in their history, La Celeste have always had an outsized impact on the sport.
Uruguay’s sense of unity and togetherness was perfectly encapsulated by Diego Alonso’s pre-match comments before the clash against South Korea.
“Uruguay players are the best in the world, they defend us through thick and thin,” Alonso told on Wednesday.
“That’s the most important tool we have is the feeling the Uruguayan players have, how they identify themselves, the sense of belonging they have. Uruguayan players respect the team, that’s why they’re the best.”
Players like Luis Suarez have shown time and again that they are prepared to go to war for their teams. His infamous handball incident against Ghana during the 2010 World Cup quarter-finals sums up the kind of mentality La Celeste players tend to possess.
In order to win major trophies, having a quality squad is often paramount. However, World Cup winners over the course of history have often showcased intangible assets to overcome adversity, and Uruguay certainly have that in abundance.