(CNN Spanish) — The Uruguayan team is already preparing for its first World Cup match in Qatar, which it will play against South Korea next Thursday.
La celeste arrives at the World Cup with a team that combines stars of the stature and experience of Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani, who could be playing their last World Cup in Qatar after more than a decade with the national team, with youngsters in the best moments of his career as Federico Valverde and Darwin Núñez.
Compared to previous World Cups, “the team has changed. It has lost offensive potential, but it has gained in the constructive quality of football, so one can say that it is balanced,” the journalist recently explained in an interview with CNN en Español Ricardo Piñeyrúa, who believes that Uruguay has the potential to have a good campaign in Qatar.
From a team that stands out for its offense, it has now gone on to one with more striking figures in the midfield, with players who “are located in a sector of the field where Uruguay usually did not have the football quality it has now,” Piñeyrúa remarked.
The stars of Uruguay in the World Cup
Suárez made his debut in the sky blue in the qualifiers for the World Cup in South Africa, where he scored three goals and was the main squire of the Ballon d’Or of the competition, Diego Forlán. He then won the 2011 Copa América, where he was top scorer and best player of the tournament. Later, in the World Cup in Brazil, he received a suspension of almost two years to return to play with his team —which included two Copa Américas without playing— and returned with two goals and a fifth place in Russia in 2018.
In total, Luis Suárez arrives at the World Cup in Qatar with seven goals in World Cups and 68 in total, which make him the top scorer in the history of the Uruguayan team.
Added to this is his impressive track record in Europe. He holds five titles as the top scorer in European clubs, including two golden boots as the top scorer on the entire continent. He was a five-time Spanish league champion (four times with Barcelona and once with Atlético), won a Champions League and a Club World Cup, as well as 4 Copas del Rey and two Spanish Super Cups with Barça, among other titles. .
Cavani is another of the great names of the national team, one of the protagonists of the feat of South Africa in 2010 that once again put Uruguay on the map of the best teams.
The 35-year-old from Salta made his debut at 21 with the sky-blue team and arrives in Qatar with a record of 58 goals for the national team, five of them in the World Cups. And he also has a brilliant record in European football. He currently plays for Valencia, following a career that has taken him through Napoli, US Palermo, PSG and Manchester United.
His record includes six French Cups and eight titles as top scorer, including in the 2016-2016 South American qualifiers, when he scored 10 goals.
Núñez arrives in Qatar at the age of 23 and as one of the most important signings for the 2022/2023 season in Europe. The striker signed with Liverpool in 2022, after two years with Benfica in Portugal and one season with Almería in Spain.
In the Uruguayan senior team he has played 13 games and has scored three goals.
The midfielder Federico Valverde is one of the key figures in the renewal of the Uruguayan team. The 24-year-old made his senior debut in 2017 but has yet to play in a World Cup.
Valverde has been with Real Madrid since 2018 after a spell at Deportivo de La Coruña. He began his professional career in Uruguay at Peñarol.
Another of the names of the renewal in the box directed by Diego Alonso is Rodrigo Bentancur. The 25-year-old midfielder comes from Tottenham, where he started playing in 2022 after a couple of seasons at Boca Juniors and Juventus.
Bentancur arrives in Qatar with the experience of Russia 2018. There, the Uruguayan team reached the quarterfinals after beating Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in the round of 16, which at that time was considered the best European team. Another team from the old continent, France, left it out and advanced to be crowned champion.
Full list of players called up for Qatar
Jose Maria Gimenez
Jose Luis Rodriguez
Nicholas De La Cruz
Giorgian de Arrascaeta
Possible starting lineup
The charrúas have already started training ahead of their first match in the group stage against South Korea.
It is expected that Sergio Rochet, currently a Nacional player, will be in the goal, who will play his first World Cup in Qatar.
In defense it is very likely that José María Giménez will be there, although it is not clear if accompanied by Diego Godín or Sebastián Coates, according to the analysis of the possible alignment made by the newspaper El País.
In the midfield, the participation of Federico Valverde and Rodrigo Bentancur seems certain, and there are two places left that could be occupied by Matías Vecino, Lucas Torreira or Giorgian de Arrascaeta, among others.
For the offensive, the names that sounded the most were those of Luis Suárez and Darwin Núñez, since Cavani had suffered an ankle injury at the end of October in a game against Valencia. However, according to a report in the Uruguayan newspaper El País, Cavani trained alongside the entire team in Doha, which would indicate that he is ready if Alsonso decides to summon him.