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Then And Now

Can Suarez And Uruguay Spoil Brazil's Party?

Uruguay’s national team played a great tournament in 2010 and surprised many by finishing fourth in South Africa. But can they better their success in Brazil?

In our new Then And Now feature Soccer Laduma compares the top performers – individual or as team – from the 2010 World Cup to the what we can expect from them in Brazil.

What many remember from Uruguay in South Africa, is Luis Suarez’ hand ball in the quarter-final against Ghana. The Black Stars would have been the first African country to qualify for the semi-final at a World Cup, if it hadn’t been for Suarez’ goal-line clearance with his hand late in extra-time.

The game had gone to extra-time following one goal from each side and Asamoah Gyan had the chance to secure a 2-1 victory for Ghana, but failed to convert the penalty and Urugay won the subsequent penalty shoot-out.

However, the South American’s had played an all-around superb competition and – apart from the Suarez incident – deserved to reach the last four.

They dominated their group with Mexico, hosts South Africa and France, and went past South Korea in the round of last 16. Following their quarter-final success over Ghana, a 2-3 defeat to the Netherlands ended their World Cup dreams and Uruguay finished fourth after another close 2-3 defeat against Germany in the third-place play-off.

Diego Forlan, who had scored five goals, won the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament and many were surprised that Uruguay finished better than their South American rivals Brazil and Argentina.

This summer, Uruguay belong to the dark horses to win the title in Brazil. However, they have to overcome a difficult group, facing England, Italy and Costa Rica. But recent performances at the 2013 Confed Cup and the 2010 World Cup, have risen their status and many believe the South American’s will leave one of the European nations in tears.

With Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and the ageing but experienced Diego Forlan, Uruguay have one of the most feared attacks and the whole squad will have learned from the experiences in 2010.

Many of Uruguay's players are in their late 20’s or early 30’s and this might be the last chance for this generation to shine. In addition, they will have the advantage of being used to climates in Brazil, which many see as the reason why no European side ever won a World Cup in South America..

Similar to 2010, Uruguay only qualified for the World Cup following a play-off, but recent victories over Argentina (3-2) and Columbia (2-0) proved they can beat any side on a given day.

Will this year be the year for Uruguay – the first ever World Cup champions – to win their third World Cup title? Have your say in the comment section below.

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