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Uruguay 2014 FIFA World Cup Squad: Player-by-Player Guide

Daniel EdwardsFeatured Columnist IIIDecember 16, 2016

Uruguay 2014 FIFA World Cup Squad: Player-by-Player Guide

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    Matilde Campodonico/Associated Press

    Uruguay were the world's first footballing superpower. Olympic triumphs in 1924 and 1928 were followed by victory in the first-ever World Cup.

    In 1950, that win was repeated in none other than the mythical Maracana stadium. 

    That World Cup victory is a taboo subject around the Celeste; perhaps more relevant is the tiny nation's resurgence, following years of underachievement, to reach the semi-finals in 2010 and take the following year's Copa America. 

    Coach Oscar Tabarez has kept faith in the bulk of the squad that reached the last four in South Africa, boosted by a handful of young talents. That squad familiarity and spirit will be their best weapon if they wish to repeat the miracle of 1950 and once more break Brazilian hearts.

    Here's Bleacher Report's guide to Uruguay's 2014 World Cup squad.

Fernando Muslera

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    Uncredited/Associated Press

    Name: Fernando Muslera

    Date of Birth: June 16, 1986

    Birthplace: Buenos Aires

    Position: Goalkeeper

    Caps: 55

    Club: Galatasaray

    Brief Bio: The Galatasaray 'keeper has been the undisputed first choice in the Celeste for the last five years. While his concentration can sometimes fade, Muslera's athleticism, agility and reflexes make him one of the best shot-stoppers on the South American continent. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: Although he is one of Uruguay's key figures, Muslera was, in fact, born in Buenos Aires, capital of arch-rivals Argentina. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: In the 2011/12 season, the 'keeper kept 19 clean sheets, breaking the Turkish league record. 

     

     

Martin Silva

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    Jorge Saenz/Associated Press

    Name: Martin Silva

    Date of Birth: March 25, 1983

    Birthplace: Montevideo

    Position: Goalkeeper

    Caps: 4

    Club: Vasco da Gama

    Brief Bio: Muslera's dominance of the No. 1 jersey has restricted the Vasco man to just a handful of caps. But the strong, commanding Silva is an excellent 'keeper in his own right and the perfect back-up should any misfortune befall the starter. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: Has won titles in both Uruguay and Paraguay, and led Olimpia to the final of the Copa Libertadores in 2013 where they lost out to Ronaldinho's Atletico Mineiro. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: A late bloomer, Silva only won his first Uruguay cap at the age of 26. 

Rodrigo Munoz

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    Luis Hidalgo/Associated Press

    Name: Rodrigo Munoz

    Date of Birth: January 22, 1982

    Birthplace: Montevideo

    Position: Goalkeeper

    Caps: 0

    Club: Libertad

    Brief Bio: A grizzled campaigner in local football, Munoz won multiple championships as No. 1 at Montevideo powerhouses Nacional. Now at Libertad of Paraguay, his form has pushed out Juan Castillo as the team's reserve goalkeeper. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: Munoz's first call-up came at the advanced age of 29, but he still awaits his debut in international colours. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: After conceding just 16 goals in 22 games during the 2012 season, the player was named Paraguay's least-beaten goalkeeper as he led Libertad to the Clausura title. 

     

     

     

Diego Lugano

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    Bogdan Maran/Associated Press

    Name: Diego Lugano

    Date of Birth: November 2, 1980

    Birthplace: Canelones

    Position: Central Defender

    Caps: 91

    Club: West Bromwich Albion

    Brief Bio: A national idol for his performances in the 2010 World Cup and the following year's Copa America victory. His pace and positioning may have suffered as the years go by, but Lugano's spirit and ferocious will to win, as well as his uncompromising tackling, are still very much intact. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: One team to overlook the Celeste captain's talents was Nacional: Lugano trained with the club as a youngster but moved to minnows Plaza Colonia in 2002 when he failed to break through in Montevideo. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: With 91 caps, Lugano is Uruguay's second-most capped player of all time. 

     

     

Diego Godin

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    Paul White/Associated Press

    Name: Diego Godin

    Date of Birth: February 16, 1986

    Birthplace: Rosario

    Position: Central Defender

    Caps: 75

    Club: Atletico Madrid

    Brief Bio: At 28 years old, it feels like Godin has been around forever. The centre-back has gradually assumed the role of defensive leader from the ageing Lugano, and the pair form a formidable barrier to any attack wishing to break through. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: The defender was a member of Uruguay's Under-20 team in the 2005 South American championships alongside current team-mates such as Alvaro Pereira, Fernando Muslera, Christian Stuani and Cristian Rodriguez. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: Godin is no shrinking violet in the tackle: He has been sent off seven times and booked on a total of 64 occasions during his professional career, averaging a yellow every five games. 

     

Jose Maria Gimenez

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    Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

    Name: Jose Maria Gimenez

    Date of Birth: January 20, 1995

    Birthplace: Toledo

    Position: Central Defender

    Caps: 3

    Club: Atletico Madrid

    Brief Bio: With just a handful of appearances under his belt for Danubio and Atletico, Gimenez is a big bet for Oscar Tabarez to provide defensive back-up. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: The youngster is the only member of the Uruguay Under-20 side that reached the World Cup final in 2013 to make the cut for the senior tournament. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: The teenager is by far the Charrua's youngest squad member; the next man in line, Gaston Ramirez, is four years older at 23.

     

     

Martin Caceres

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    Francisco Seco/Associated Press

    Name: Martin Caceres

    Date of Birth: April 7, 1987

    Birthplace: Montevideo

    Position: Central Defender

    Caps: 55

    Club: Juventus

    Brief Bio: A determined, talented and versatile defender, Caceres is accustomed to playing in the middle for Juve and pushing further wide in international colours. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: As a result of his flowing locks, the defender has been nicknamed "Pelado" (Baldy in Spanish) by friends and fans alike. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: Although Villarreal were the team who brought Caceres from Uruguay to Europe, he never actually played a competitive game for the Spanish side. 

Jorge Fucile

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    Ivan Sekretarev/Associated Press

    Name: Jorge Fucile

    Date of Birth: November 19, 1984

    Birthplace: Montevideo

    Position: Full-back

    Caps: 40

    Club: FC Porto

    Brief Bio: Fast, versatile full back who can play on either flank and a member of the strong South American contingent at Porto.

    Quick-Hit Fact: Was set to return to his home nation at the end of 2013 with Nacional, although the deal eventually fell through. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: One of Uruguay's most successful club players, with a total of five Portuguese league titles, a Europa League medal and a Paulista Championship won during a spell with Santos among his trophies. 

Alejandro Silva

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    Martin Mejia/Associated Press

    Name: Alejandro Silva

    Date of Birth: September 4, 1989

    Birthplace: Montevideo

    Position: Right-back

    Caps: 2

    Club: Lanus

    Brief Bio: An enterprising right-back who can also push forward and is adept at playing in midfield. Silva will provide cover for Maxi Pereira on the flank. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: A late-comer to football, Silva worked a variety of odd jobs including a stint as a pizza delivery boy before going professional.

    Quick-Hit Stat: With just two caps, Silva is Uruguay's most inexperienced outfield player. 

Maximiliano Pereira

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    Ronald Zak/Associated Press

    Name: Maximiliano Pereira

    Date of Birth: June 8, 1984

    Birthplace: Montevideo

    Position: Right-back

    Caps: 87

    Club: Benfica

    Brief Bio: A terrier of a right-back, Pereira is an unrelenting competitor who has formed the backbone of both the Uruguay and Benfica defences for the best part of a decade. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: Having joined Benfica in 2007, only Luisao and Oscar Cardozo have been with the club as long as Pereira. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: The 2010 World Cup semi-final was bittersweet for Maxi: Although his team would lose, the full-back achieved a personal landmark by scoring his first-ever Celeste goal against the Netherlands. 

     

     

Sebastian Coates

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    Matilde Campodonico/Associated Press

    Name: Sebastian Coates 

    Date of Birth: October 7, 1990

    Birthplace: Montevideo

    Position: Centre-back

    Caps: 13

    Club: Liverpool

    Brief Bio: Coates' meteoric rise was checked when he discovered life in the Premier League was a step up from starring with Nacional locally. But a loan spell back in Parque Central has seen the lanky centre-back find his best form again, and he offers another option in the middle for the Celeste. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: The youngster's rather unusual surname comes from his father's Scottish ancestry. In Spanish, it is pronounced Kwa-tez. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: His time in Liverpool has been an exercise in frustration so far, having played just 12 games in a little under two seasons at Anfield. 

     

Alvaro Pereira

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    G. Newman Lowrance/Associated Press

    Name: Alvaro Pereira

    Date of Birth: November 28, 1985

    Birthplace: Montevideo

    Position: Left-back/wing-back

    Caps: 54

    Club: Sao Paulo

    Brief Bio: In a team not exactly blessed with creation in midfield, Pereira's explosive runs down the left are vital to the Uruguayan attack. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: The player's slight build led to him being dubbed "Palito" in his home neighbourhood, meaning "little stick," and the name has stayed with him throughout his career. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: A seasoned traveller, Pereira has represented clubs in six nations: Uruguay, Argentina, Romania, Portugal, Italy and Brazil.

     

Walter Gargano

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    Marco Vasini/Associated Press

    Name: Walter Gargano

    Date of Birth: July 23, 1984

    Birthplace: Paysandu

    Position: Central midfielder

    Caps: 60

    Club: Parma

    Brief Bio: A diminutive figure in midfield, Gargano provides a more creative foil to the destructive talents of Diego Perez and Arevalo Rios in the engine room. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: The midfielder is married to the sister of former Napoli team-mate Marek Hamsik. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: Gargano starred for Danubio in two of the only three titles the Montevideo club have ever won, winning the Uruguayan Primera Division in 2004 and 2006/07. 

Diego Perez

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    Ronald Zak/Associated Press

    Name: Diego Perez

    Date of Birth: May 18, 1980

    Birthplace: Montevideo

    Position: Defensive midfielder

    Caps: 87

    Club: Bologna

    Brief Bio: A hard-as-nails competitor who has rarely let Uruguay down, although a fair few red and yellow cards tell the story of a midfielder who is occasionally a little too excited to get involved in football's dark arts.

    Quick-Hit Fact: Perez's brother Omar also plays professional football, a similarly uncompromising midfielder who briefly played in Spain for Castellon. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: Scored his first Uruguay goal in a Copa America quarter-final victory over Argentina in 2011, although that achievement was marred slightly by a sending-off in the same game. 

     

Alvaro Gonzalez

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    Alessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

    Name: Alvaro Gonzalez

    Date of Birth: October 29, 1984

    Birthplace: Sarandi Grande

    Position: Right midfielder

    Caps: 41

    Club: Lazio

    Brief Bio: With ample experience in the national team and European football, Gonzalez can cover both defence and midfield on the right side of the pitch. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: Gonzalez is one of several Celeste players born outside Montevideo: His home town Sarandi Grande has a population of just 6000. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: The player is used primarily off the bench by coach Tabarez. In 11 qualifying appearances, he completed 90 minutes on just four occasions. 

     

Egidio Arevalo Ríos

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    Eduardo Di Baia/Associated Press

    Name: Egidio Arevalo Rios

    Date of Birth: January 1, 1982

    Birthplace: Paysandu

    Position: Defensive midfielder

    Caps: 52

    Club: Morelia

    Brief Bio: Even at 32, Arevalo's hard tackling and relentless marking makes him almost the first name on the team-sheet for Oscar Tabarez. His midfield partnership with Diego Perez has formed the spine of the Celeste team for the last five years. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: As well as accumulating more than 50 caps for his native Uruguay, Arevalo Rios also holds Mexican citizenship. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: The dependable star holds the distinction of playing every minute of Uruguay's World Cup in 2010, as well as starting all six games in the Copa America victory a year later and missing just 20 minutes of the qualifying campaign. 

     

Cristian Rodriguez

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    Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

    Name: Cristian Rodriguez

    Date of Birth: September 30, 1985

    Birthplace: Juan Lacaze

    Position: Attacking midfielder

    Caps: 70

    Club: Atletico Madrid

    Brief Bio: Has seen his chances improve in the national team as Diego Forlan is used more sparingly and was one of the stars of qualifying. Injects dynamism and creativity into the Celeste outfit. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: Missed the 2010 finals when coach Oscar Tabarez decided against taking him because he would be serving a suspension in the first two group matches in South Africa.

    Quick-Hit Stat: Something of a prodigy, Rodriguez—whose nickname is Cebolla or "onion'—was just two months past his 18th birthday when he celebrated his first title, starting in a decisive Uruguayan Championship play-off that Penarol won against arch-rivals Nacional. 

Nicolas Lodeiro

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    Ronald Zak/Associated Press

    Name: Nicolas Lodeiro

    Date of Birth: March 21, 1989

    Birthplace: Paysandu

    Position: Attacking midfielder

    Caps: 24

    Club: Botafogo

    Brief Bio: Long considered one of the long-term successors to Diego Forlan's coveted No. 10 jersey but has struggled to reconcile that promise with consistent performances on the pitch. Has improved since moving to Brazil. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: Was given a baptism of fire in the national team, making a surprise debut in 2009's World Cup play-off against Costa Rica and playing both matches. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: Despite playing just over 150 games in his career, Lodeiro has a bulging trophy cabinet. Titles in Uruguay, Netherlands and Brazil are accompanied by the 2011 Copa America, won by the Celeste in Buenos Aires' Monumental stadium.

Gaston Ramirez

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    Sang Tan/Associated Press

    Name: Gaston Ramirez

    Date of Birth: December 2, 1990

    Birthplace: Fray Bentos

    Position: Attacking midfielder

    Caps: 26

    Club: Southampton

    Brief Bio: A creative midfielder of great promise, injuries have prevented him from showing his best side so far in the Premier League. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: Ramirez's home town, the border city of Fray Bentos, is famous in the English language for a range of meat products sold under the same name, most notably corned beef and ready-made pies and pastry goods. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: The youngster played in the 2009 Under-20 World Cup in Egypt, alongside fellow senior squad members Nicolas Lodeiro and Abel Hernandez.

Sebastian Eguren

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    Javier Calvelo/Associated Press

    Name: Sebastian Eguren

    Date of Birth: January 8, 1981

    Birthplace: Montevideo

    Position: Right-back

    Caps: 54

    Club: Palmeiras

    Brief Bio: A cultured, intelligent midfielder, Eguren has figured off the bench since Tabarez took over, ceding his place in favour of the more rustic talents of Diego Perez and Arevalo Rios. As a substitute, however, his creativity and poise are perfect for galvanising a flagging attack. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: In 2004, the player tested positive for cocaine after a game in Ecuador's capital Quito; he blamed the coca tea drunk habitually in Andean countries and was given a shortened suspension. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: Eguren has certainly led a varied football career. Since leaving first club Montevideo Wanderers in 2002, he became a wanderer himself, representing 10 clubs in six countries and never staying in one place longer than two years.

Luis Suarez

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    Clint Hughes/Associated Press

    Name: Luis Suarez

    Date of Birth: January 24, 1987

    Birthplace: Salto

    Position: Striker

    Caps: 76

    Club: Liverpool

    Brief Bio: Supremely competitive, often to the point of bending the rules, Suarez is the striker every football fan wants on their team. His finishing and work rate make him a formidable opponent for any defence.  

    Quick-Hit Fact: Is Uruguay's top scorer in history with 36 goals. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: Became the first player for more than a decade to score 30 Premier League goals in one season this year.

Diego Forlan

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    Shuji Kajiyama/Associated Press

    Name: Diego Forlan

    Date of Birth: May 19, 1979

    Birthplace: Montevideo

    Position: Striker

    Caps: 107

    Club: Cerezo Osaka

    Brief Bio: Uruguay's elder statesman, with the years he has settled into a role behind the strikers pulling strings from deep. His dead-ball delivery is a vital weapon in the Celeste armoury.

    Quick-Hit Fact: Nicknamed "Cachavacha" due to a certain resemblance to an Argentine cartoon which was popular in Uruguay during his childhood. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: Voted best player of the 2010 finals and twice winner of Europe's Golden Boot.

Edinson Cavani

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    Michel Euler/Associated Press

    Name: Edinson Cavani

    Date of Birth: February 14, 1987

    Birthplace: Salto

    Position: Striker

    Caps: 60

    Club: Paris St Germain

    Brief Bio: While Cavani may not possess quite the same level of explosive finishing as his partner up front, the PSG star's running and intelligence make him an excellent second striker, also capable of drifting out wide to create gaps. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: Shares his home town of Salto with Luis Suarez, who also grew up in the city located in the west of Uruguay near the Argentine border. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: Cavani's strike rate climbed impressively when he made the switch from Palermo to Napoli: From 31 percent, the striker scored in an incredible 75 percent of Napoli matches during his three seasons. His debut season at PSG saw him hit the net in just under 60 percent of the French club's encounters.

     

Christian Stuani

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    Matilde Campodonico/Associated Press

    Name: Christian Stuani

    Date of Birth: October 12, 1986

    Birthplace: Tala

    Position: Winger

    Caps: 7

    Club: Espanyol

    Brief Bio: One of the newest faces in the Uruguay squad, Stuani carved out a place in the last rounds of World Cup qualifying, and his work down the flanks assured his trip to Brazil. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: As a youngster, Stuani was a team-mate of Edinson Cavani in Danubio before he moved to Palermo. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: The forward boasts a perfect record for Uruguay in competitive games: four played, four won in the World Cup qualifiers.

Abel Hernandez

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    Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

    Name: Abel Hernandez

    Date of Birth: August 8, 1990

    Birthplace: Pando

    Position: Striker

    Caps: 11

    Club: Palermo

    Brief Bio: Has been on the fringe of the Celeste set-up for a while now without being able to break through to a regular starting spot. With Cavani and Suarez ahead in the pecking order, La Joya will once more be utilised as a back-up striker. 

    Quick-Hit Fact: Hernandez was vital in Palermo's return to Serie A in 2013/14, netting 13 times to establish himself as the side's leading marksman. 

    Quick-Hit Stat: Scored four goals in the 8-0 win over Tahiti at last year's Confederations Cup in Brazil.

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