Manager: Oscar Tabarez
Group: C (with Chile, Mexico and Peru)
Copa America title betting odds: 11/1
Qualifying for quarter-finals odds: 1/20
Group winner odds: 6/5
Finishing in the top two in group odds: 9/50
Copa America 2007 performance: Fourth
Best Copa America performance: Winner (1916, 1917, 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926, 1935, 1942, 1956, 1959, 1967, 1983, 1987, 1995)
How are they shaping up?
The latest Fifa world rankings saw Uruguay drop 11 places in the table to 18th, suggesting la Celeste Olimpica are arriving in Argentina in disarray. However, while defeats to Chile, Estonia and Germany in their last six matches will not have helped, much of this fall from grace can be attributed to the results from the group stages of last year’s World Cup being removed from consideration.
A 0-0 draw with France was followed by a 3-0 win over South Africa and a 1-0 victory over Mexico in the opening round of the 2010 tournament, meaning Uruguay qualified for the first knockout stage as group winners and boosted their ranking in the process. La Celeste Olimpica went on to record an impressive fourth-place finish in South Africa, with their tournament rounded off by defeat to Germany in the third-place play-off.
An earlier loss to Holland in the last four prevented Oscar Tabarez’s side from reaching the final, and, in spite of their newly-deflated world ranking, a 1-1 draw with the same opponents on 8th June suggests Uruguay are not far from finding the sort of form which gave them such success last year. They therefore enter the Copa America as 11/1 joint-third favourites with group rivals Chile.
Edinson Cavani Caps: 27 Goals: 9
While Diego Forlan won the award for best player at last year’s World Cup, Edinson Cavani’s outstanding club form for Napoli last season means he is likely to carry Uruguay’s main attacking threat in the Copa America. While Forlan managed just nine goals in 32 appearances for Atletico Madrid in La Liga, Cavani plundered 26 goals in 35 matches in Serie A. Indeed, Cavani’s form has been so impressive that Napoli have placed a €100 million price tag on his head in an attempt to ward off interest from Manchester City.
With Cavani nicknamed El Matador because of his imposing frame, he is likely to cause defences significant problems in the Copa America and could prove the difference between a spot in the last four and a place in the final.
Solid at the back and blessed with skilful attackers, Uruguay look well-placed to at least repeat their performance at the World Cup and reach the last four. But for all the talent brought to the table by the likes of Forlan, Cavani, Diego Lugano and Luis Suarez, they are likely to come unstuck against South American giants Argentina and Brazil.