Uruguay World Cup soccer team dreams of rising again

Uruguay World Cup Team Statistics: Group A

Status: Advance to round 2, advance to quarterfinals, advance to semifinals, knocked out finals, looses third place match. 

World Ranking: 16

World Cup 2010 Results: 4-2-1

Total goals scored: 14

Total goals scored against: 9

Uruguay World Cup Schedule: June 11 - France (0-0 draw); June 16 - South Africa (3-0 win); June 22 - Mexico (1-0 win); June 26 (2-1 win); July 2 - Ghana (4-2 win), July 6 - Netherlands (2-3 loss), July 10 - Germany (2-3 loss).

Uruguay World Cup Soccer 2010

Uruguay is the elusive answer to a classic trivia question: name the five countries that have won multiple World Cups. It defeated Argentina to win the inaugural competition at home in 1930 and won again in 1950 — over Brazil in Brazil!

Over the past half century, Uruguay — poorer and smaller, with a population of just 3.4 million, than the South American soccer juggernauts that it once bested — has struggled to compete with the two countries that engulf it on the map. Yet it continues to produce elite talent that thrives in the international game.

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There is a belief among its people — you might even call it an abiding faith — that Uruguay will someday rise again. That with a stellar performance at the World Cup, Uruguay will once again command the world stage. And on that day the whole world will have to pay homage to the extraordinary soccer legacy it has forgotten.

Uruguay World Cup History: The glories reside in the history books. Uruguay has become a run-of-the-mill South American team, surpassed not only by Brazil and Argentina but, worse, more comparably-sized Paraguay. These days Uruguay qualifies for the finals about half the time and advances to the second round on about half of those occasions.

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Uruguay World Cup Conventional Wisdom: Uruguay boasts talent, but the team seems less than the sum of its parts. It failed to come up big in the biggest games. Given a shot at qualifying and, at the same time, potentially knocking Argentina out of the World Cup, it lost at home to its neighbor for the first time in 30 years. There is no juggernaut looming in Uruguay’s Cup group, only questions of whether the team can rise to the occasion.

Uruguay World Cup Team Coach: Oscar Tabarez

Known as El Maestro (The Teacher), Tabarez is a veteran hand who has coached at home and in Europe. He was at the helm in Spain '90 when Uruguay reached the second round. But worries abound after Uruguay eked through qualification with lackluster performances in its final, critical games.

Uruguay World Cup Team Strength: Genuine talent up front, in the midfield and on the back line, even if it hasn’t yet meshed.

Uruguay World Cup Team Weakness: You can see it as inconsistency, or you can see it’s a dubious kind of consistency — failure to rise to the occasion. In qualification, Uruguay won just one of eight games against the other South American Cup qualifiers and finished with an unimpressive record of six wins, six losses and six draws.

Uruguay World Cup Key Player: Diego Forlan is, like so many star strikers, a classic peacock who loves to flash his abs when he scores. That means fans have seen a lot of his abs. He has twice won Europe’s Golden Boot (now the Golden Shoe) — with Villareal in 2004-05 and with Atletico Madrid in 2008-09 — as the leading scorer in Europe’s top leagues. At 31, Forlan still has the legs to go with the abs, scoring seven goals for Uruguay during qualification.