Head Coach Oscar Tabarez seems to prefer the pragmatic 4-4-2 formation, but is not afraid to switch to a defensive 3-5-2 or even an attacking 4-3-3 with the growing options that he has with his squad. Let’s take a look at the most likely starting lineup we’ll see put to the test this World Cup:
Starting XI: Muslera (GK), M. Pereira, Lugano, Godin, Caceres, Lodeiro, Rios, Stuani, C. Rodriguez, Suarez, Cavani.
Tabarez does not have a very difficult job here in choosing the Starting XI, as it almost picks itself, considering the success each player has had abroad in Europe or elsewhere. Uruguay boasts two of the best strikers in the world right now in Cavani and Suarez. Expect Cavani to be front lining the Uruguay attack, with Suarez given a free role to roam and cause havoc throughout the opposition’s defensive back line.
One of the surprises here might be the absence of the fabulous Diego Forlan, who experienced so much success in the previous world cup, winning the Golden Ball (given to the best player of the tournament), and rescuing the team from many tough situations. As elegant and graceful Forlan is on the pitch, he is getting older and it would be difficult to imagine him recreating the master-class performance he displayed in South Africa. It seems more likely we’ll be seeing him in a relatively subtle role for the team, coming on as an impact sub to change the game or starting against the lower ranked teams to help give the two main strikers a well needed rest.
Uruguay’s style of play is centered around hard work, an energetic high press, and an unbelievably strong determination to win each game. This attitude stems directly from the leadership of Luis Suarez and his burning passion and appetite for the game. Expect Uruguay to take advantage of every set-piece they can get their hands on, sending the Center Backs forward into the 18-yard box and creating chaos with their wonderfully delivered balls into dangerous areas. Tabarez is a very tactically savvy manager as he displayed in the 2011 Copa, grinding out victories against two of the strongest South American teams, Brazil and Argentina, to bring home the trophy.
A weakness in the Starting XI would probably be their lack of pace in their Center Backs. Although both Godin and Lugano are very experienced and have excellent positioning, they could be faced with some serious challenges if they come up against quick and agile players like Raheem Sterling of England. Uruguay enjoy playing with full-backs that bomb forward, which might be dangerous if the Center Backs are caught alone on the counter attack. The team conceded 25 goals in the qualifying rounds for the World Cup, which is going to be something Tabarez has to address if they want to make it past the group stages. England and Italy aren’t considered high scoring teams, but if you give any teams of their caliber a chance to score, they’re going to take it, so Uruguay has to be extra careful in the way they line up defensively.