Connect with us

World Cup 2014

World Cup 2014 Tactics: Analysing Uruguay’s Tactical approach for the 2014 World Cup

After struggling throughout qualifying, Uruguay only scraped into the World Cup via a play-off against Jordan but on their day the 2010 semi-finalists will be a match for almost anyone.  Retaining the core of players than impressed in South Africa and went on to win the 2011 Copa America, can Tabarez’s charges spoil the party in Brazil once again?

BASIC FORMATION

Uruguay tend to opt for a 4-4-2 with two central midfielders sitting deep to protect the back four and which can quickly morph into a 4-2-2-2 when springing forward on the counter attack.  Nicknamed El Maestro, legendary coach Oscar Washington Tabarez has variations of personnel that can subtly alter the balance of his preferred set up.  Depending on the opposition, he can either go with two destroyers in the centre, such as Diego Perez and Egidio Arevalo Rios, or instead use Nicolas Lodeiro when looking for a more expansive game.  Cristian Rodriguez and Christian Stuani often take on the role of the wide men to support Suarez and Cavani.

That is not to say that Tabarez rigidly sticks to this formation.  In qualification he also deployed both a 4-3-1-2 and a diamond with either one of Lodeiro, Rodriguez, Forlan or Ramirez in the hole behind the strikers and has also experimented with a 4-3-3, again keeping the centre of the park solid and organised, handing the creative responsibility to the intelligent posse of forwards at his disposal.

Uruguay WC formation

 

ANALYSIS

A main strength which characterises Uruguay’s style is their resilience and fighting spirit.  Midfield warriors Diego Perez, Egidio Arevalo Rios and Walter Gargano typify this garra charrúa and will fight tooth and nail to protect the defence and make Uruguay extremely difficult to break down.  Indeed, all over the pitch the players will be expected to work hard and make life uncomfortable for the opposition. Although, they may not be as underestimated as they were in 2010, they will still relish being the underdogs and call upon the spirit of the 1950 Maracanzo. 

This use of midfield enforcers to sit deep and break up play is, in part, also a reaction to one of Uruguay’s main weaknesses, that is to say their creaking, lumbering defence.  Though Diego Godin has been in fine form helping Atletico Madrid to the La Liga title, centre back partner Diego Lugano is long past his prime and his lack of pace could be exploited by nippy opposition.  This need to drop deep and not allow space in behind engenders a counter-attacking style, a style that is a direct product of both their greatest strengths and their greatest deficiency.

What also allows this style to pay off is the world class strikers they possess.  Suarez and Cavani are two of the most feared strikers around and are coming off the back of impressive seasons for their clubs.  Furthermore, they have the creativity and experience of Forlan, the industry and aerial ability of Stuani and the pace of Abel Hernandez to call upon.  In their current form, Suarez and Cavani are capable of conjuring match-winning moments out of nothing and will always pose a massive threat.

MORE READING | Interview with Telegraph correspondent, Juan Arango, on Uruguay and their potential over-dependence on the tried & tested players.

Another factor to consider is how the group draw could work as an advantage for them.  Uruguay will be favourites to win their opening game against Costa Rica and, with 3 points in the bag, this should therefore allow them in theory to sit back in their games against England and Italy (who may be under more pressure to look for the win depending on how their previous games have panned out) and play their favoured counter-attacking style.  Throw in the geographical advantage of playing in the familiar surroundings of South America and you can quickly see why the Tabarez’s men back themselves to progress from the group.

While having a settled squad that knows each other inside out will certainly be a positive influence, their pre-tournament form in qualification has led to the belief that perhaps this could be the end of the cycle for an ageing group of players.  It could be a sensational send off for a highly successful group or it could be one battle too many.  Only time will tell which Uruguay we see.

Finally, despite having the likes of Suarez, Cavani and Godin in the form of their lives, there are a number of players in the squad struggling for playing time.  Jorge Fucile has not featured for Porto at all this season, while Sebastian Coates has regressed since his move to Liverpool and has struggled with injury since his loan move back to Nacional.  What’s more, Gaston Ramirez has also not been able to hold down a first team spot at Southampton and captain Lugano didn’t cover himself in glory in the 9 appearances he made for West Brom.  Tabarez obviously knows his players well and will be expecting them to set up to recreate past international form.

KEY PLAYERS

Luis Suarez | As mentioned above, Uruguay’s key players will come in the guise of strike duo Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.  PFA Player of the Year and Premier League top scorer Suarez has been in phenomenal form this season, almost single-handedly dragging Liverpool to the title, and will look to continue that in Brazil.  His intelligence, technique and never-say-die attitude means he can operate anywhere across the front line, equally adept at dropping deep or playing off the last defender’s shoulder.  In short, a defender’s nightmare.  However, Suarez now faces a race against time to get fully fit following a knee operation on his meniscus and Uruguayan fans will be praying for a swift recovery for their star striker.

Edinson Cavani | It could be an important tournament for Cavani too. Playing second fiddle to Ibrahimovic at PSG and often played out wide four years ago due to his incredible work rate and willingness to sacrifice himself for the team, it will be his time to spearhead the attack as a focal point alongside Suarez.  It might be the perfect opportunity to showcase on the world stage what the man, described by Tabarez as the “perfect son-in-law”, can do, especially if Suarez struggles to fully shake off his injury.

Diego Godin & Fernando Muslera | At the other end of the pitch, Diego Godin and Fernando Muslera will be absolutely vital in holding together the defence and providing a solid platform for the more creative members of the squad.  Godin in particular has had a stellar season with Atletico Madrid and, though not the quickest or most physically imposing, has fantastic position sense and bags of intelligence while also being an aerial threat from set pieces, as displayed by his goals against Barcelona and Real Madrid this season.

TALENT RADAR KEY YOUNG PLAYER

The youngest member of the squad, centre back Jose Maria Gimenez, may not feature but could find himself thrust into the limelight.  A rock in the heart of defence for the U20 side that reached the final of the U20 World Cup last summer and on the books of Atletico Madrid, he will most likely be in Brazil primarily to gain experience (should he make the final cut) but, nevertheless, he is certainly one for the future.

Read all our World Cup Tactical Previews here, and all other WC2014 related content here.

Tom Robinson

Tom Robinson

An Argentinian & South American enthusiast and long-suffering Aston Villa fan, Tom began writing about the continent's always dramatic football after returning from a six-month stint working in Buenos Aires.He has since been featured on numerous sites, such as Sky Sports, IBWM and A Football Report.

You can find more at @tomrobbo89
Tom Robinson

100 to Watch

Latest

Tactical Analysis20 hours ago

Tactical Analysis: Juventus 2-3 Lazio | Simone Inzaghi exposes Juventus’ 4-2-3-1 weaknesses

Cheuk Hei Ho writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Italian Super Cup final that finished Juventus 2-3 Lazio

Tactical Analysis20 hours ago

Tactical Analysis: Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City | Attacking Patterns & Transitions

Kaushik Goswami writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Premier League opener that finished Arsenal 4-3 Leicester City

Talent Radar2 days ago

Premier League’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

William Sinsky brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Premier League this season. It’s back. The...

Tactical Analysis2 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona | Real’s Pressing Excellence

Om Arvind writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Spanish Super Cup second leg that finished Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona...

Talent Radar3 days ago

Serie A’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Simone Torricini brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Serie A this season. The Under-20 World...

Tactical Analysis3 days ago

Tactical Analysis: Manchester United 4-0 West Ham | Fluidity and exploitation

Ryan Quinn writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Premier League game that finished Manchester United 4-0 West Ham Following the signings...

Talent Radar1 week ago

Eredivisie’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Mosope Ominiyi brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Eredivisie this season. Justin Kluivert // Ajax...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

Primeira Liga’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18

Jose Miguel Saraiva brings you 10 players that could enjoy breakthrough campaigns in the Primeira Liga this season.

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Ainsley Maitland-Niles | Arsenal’s Versatile Prospect

Mosope Ominiyi provides a detailed scout report on Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Arsenal’s versatile prospect. Arsene Wenger announced that along with 17-year-old winger...

Specials2 weeks ago

Lazio’s Golden Age: The Sergio Cragnotti Era

Football News 24/7  Sam McKeever has a look back at Lazio’s golden era in the 90’s under the ownership of Sergio...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Analysis: Why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing

Kaushik Goswami has a look at why Nemanja Matic could be Manchester United’s most important signing. Having already lured Romelu...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Monaco’s Moves: Why the Football World should pay attention

While the football world is focused on the players being sold by Monaco, Alex Lynch has a look at how...

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Joel Pereira | Manchester United’s Agile Goalkeeper

Mateus Carvalho provides a comprehensive scout report on Joel Pereira, Manchester United’s agile goalkeeper. At the end of the last season, José...

Talent Radar3 weeks ago

Talent Radar: CONCACAF Gold Cup 2017 | U-23 Team of the Tournament

Football News 24/7  Jose Miguel Saraiva gives us his U-23 Team of the recently concluded CONCACAF Gold Cup featuring the...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Blindside Movements And Mental Overloads: Breaking Down Maurizio Sarri’s Tactics

Cheuk Hei Ho breaks down Maurizio Sarri’s tactics at Napoli looking at how the Italian giants use passing, blindside movements,...

Opinions3 weeks ago

Bayern Munich: What’s their game plan?

Alankrith Shankar writes a detailed article of how we can expect Bayern Munich to set up in the 2017-18 season....

Scout Report3 weeks ago

Scout Report: Juan Foyth | Estudiantes’ Ball-Playing Defender

Kaustubh Pandey provides a detailed scout report about Juan Foyth, Estudiantes’ ball-playing defender. Argentina has, since time immemorial, been a...

Scout Report4 weeks ago

Scout Report: Dayot Upamecano | RB Leipzig’s Precocious Talent

Mateus Carvalho provides a detailed scout report about Dayot Upamecano, RB Leipzig’s precocious talent. RB Leipzig is a source of...

Scout Report4 weeks ago

Scout Report: Philip Billing | Huddersfield’s young midfielder

Patrick Mills provides a detailed scout report about Philip Billing, Huddersfield’s young midfielder. Against the odds, Huddersfield Town, one of the...

Opinions4 weeks ago

Amin Younes: How the German international has redeemed his career

Alex Lynch charts the progress of Amin Younes from his days at Gladbach to his current success at Ajax Besides...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 16-17

More on Outside of the Boot