Uruguay World Cup squad 2022: Roster projections for all 26 players for national team in Qatar

Uruguay World Cup squad 2022: Roster projections for all 26 players for national team in Qatar

Updated: 1 month, 9 days, 6 hours, 53 minutes, 51 seconds ago

Heading to their 14th World Cup tournament in the nation's history, Uruguay are the eternal World Cup dark horse. It's what you'd expect of a country that has won the tournament in the past — La Celeste won the two of the first four World Cups held — and made a semifinal run in 2010.

But what the competition in Qatar will be looking at is the talent on the field in November. Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin are well into their late 30s and will be hoping for one last magical run. But this could also turn into the tournament in which the next generation of stars takes over.

Federico Valverde, who has recently been called the third-best player in the world, and Liverpool scoring sensation Darwin Nunez are ready for the World Cup stage, alongside FC Barcelona defensive force Ronald Araujo, if he can recover from injury in time. 

La Celeste always seem to find a way, including during the recent World Cup qualifiers when things were looking dire and legendary manager Oscar Washington Tabarez was sacked. They still made it and they're one of the favorites to emerge from Group H. And if Uruguay and their characteristic fight and grit — known as the Garra Charrua — get into the knockouts, anything can happen. 

MORE: How the competition shapes up for Uruguay in Group H

Uruguay World Cup squad 2022

New manager Diego Alonso, who took the reins in January, announced his 51-man expanded preliminary squad at the deadline on Friday, Oct. 21, when preliminary squads of 35-55 players were due.

It's from this list of 51 that he will select his final 26-man roster for Qatar by Monday, Nov. 14.

Midfielder Mauro Arambarri (Getafe) was an injury omission, while Diego Rossi (Fenerbahce) and Maxi Gomez (Trabzonspor) were among the players who didn't make this first cut.

Position Player Club Age Caps Goalkeeper Guillermo De Amores Lanus (ARG) 28 0 Goalkeeper Santiago Mele Union Santa Fe (ARG) 25 0 Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera Galatasaray (TUR) 36 133 Goalkeeper Gaston Oliveira Olimpia (PAR) 29 0 Goalkeeper Sergio Rochet Nacional (URU) 29 8 Goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa Independiente (ARG) 36 1 Defender Gaston Alvarez Getafe (ESP) 22 0 Defender Ronald Araujo Barcelona (ESP) 23 12 Defender Santiago Bueno Girona (ESP) 23 5 Defender Leandro Cabrera Espanyol (ESP) 31 0 Defender Martin Caceres LA Galaxy (USA) 35 115 Defender Sebastian Caceres America (MEX) 23 2 Defender Sebastian Coates Sporting CP (POR) 32 47 Defender Alfonso Espino Cadiz (ESP) 30 0 Defender Jose Maria Gimenez Atletico Madrid (ESP) 27 78 Defender Diego Godin Velez Sarsfield (ARG) 36 159 Defender Giovanni Gonzalez Mallorca (ESP) 28 16 Defender Bruno Mendez Corinthians (BRA) 23 2 Defender Lucas Olaza Real Valladolid (ESP) 28 1 Defender Mathias Olivera Napoli (ITA) 24 8 Defender Joaquin Piquerez Palmeiras (BRA) 24 9 Defender Jose Luis Rodriguez Nacional (URU) 25 9 Defender Agustin Rogel Hertha Berlin (GER) 25 1 Defender Damian Suarez Getafe (ESP) 34 7 Defender Guillermo Varela Flamengo (BRA) 29 9 Defender Matias Vina AS Roma (ITA) 24 26 Midfielder Cesar Araujo Orlando City (USA) 21 0 Midfielder Maxi Araujo Puebla (MEX) 22 6 Midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur Tottenham (ENG) 25 51 Midfielder Felipe Carballo Nacional (URU) 26 1 Midfielder Nicolas De La Cruz River Plate (ARG) 25 17 Midfielder Fabricio Diaz Liverpool FC (URU) 19 9 Midfielder Fernando Gorriaran Santos Laguna (MEX) 27 7 Midfielder Facundo Pellistri Manchester United (ENG) 20 7 Midfielder David Terans Athletic Paranaense (BRA) 28 2 Midfielder Lucas Torreira Galatasaray (TUR) 26 40 Midfielder Manuel Ugarte Sporting CP (POR) 21 6 Midfielder Federico Valverde Real Madrid (ESP) 24 44 Midfielder Matias Vecino Lazio (ITA) 31 62 Forward Agustin Alvarez Sassuolo (ITA) 21 4 Forward Thiago Borbas River Plate (URU) 20 0 Forward Agustin Canobbio Athletico Paranaense (BRA) 24 3 Forward Edinson Cavani Valencia (ESP) 35 133 Forward Giorgian De Arrascaeta Flamengo (BRA) 28 40 Forward Nicolas Lopez Tigres (MEX) 29 0 Forward Darwin Nunez Liverpool (ENG) 23 13 Forward Brian Ocampo Cadiz (ESP) 23 1 Forward Jonathan Rodriguez America (MEX) 29 29 Forward Martin Satriano Empoli (ITA) 21 1 Forward Luis Suarez Nacional (URU) 35 134 Forward Facundo Torres Orlando City (USA) 22 10

📋 𝗥𝗘𝗦𝗘𝗥𝗩𝗔𝗗𝗢𝗦 𝗠𝗨𝗡𝗗𝗜𝗔𝗟𝗜𝗦𝗧𝗔𝗦

Lista de jugadores 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐚𝐝𝐨𝐬 por Diego Alonso para el 𝐌𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐚𝐥 𝐝𝐞 𝐂𝐚𝐭𝐚𝐫.

🇶🇦 @FIFAWorldCup #ElEquipoQueNosUne pic.twitter.com/EiXNlqoRKr — Selección Uruguaya (@Uruguay) October 21, 2022

Final 26-man Uruguay World Cup roster

The 51-man list suggests plenty of decisions for manager Diego Alonso, but a good chunk of the final 26-man roster should choose itself by the time the Monday, Nov. 14 deadline comes around.

If Ronald Araujo can't recover in time, America's Sebastian Caceres or Hertha's Agustin Rogel could be next in line. Facundo Torres, who plays with American side Orlando City, could be the last forward taken, while the midfield picks itself.

Here's a look at a likely projected 26-man roster for Uruguay:

Position Player Club Age Caps Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera Galatasaray (TUR) 36 133 Goalkeeper Sergio Rochet Nacional (URU) 29 8 Goalkeeper Sebastian Sosa Independiente (ARG) 36 1 Defender Ronald Araujo Barcelona (ESP) 23 12 Defender Martin Caceres LA Galaxy (USA) 35 115 Defender Sebastian Coates Sporting CP (POR) 32 47 Defender Jose Maria Gimenez Atletico Madrid (ESP) 27 78 Defender Diego Godin Velez Sarsfield (ARG) 36 159 Defender Mathias Olivera Napoli (ITA) 24 8 Defender Damian Suarez Getafe (ESP) 34 7 Defender Guillermo Varela Flamengo (BRA) 29 9 Defender Matias Vina AS Roma (ITA) 24 26 Midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur Tottenham (ENG) 25 51 Midfielder Nicolas De La Cruz River Plate (ARG) 25 17 Midfielder Fernando Gorriaran Santos Laguna (MEX) 27 7 Midfielder Facundo Pellistri Manchester United (ENG) 20 7 Midfielder Lucas Torreira Galatasaray (TUR) 26 40 Midfielder Manuel Ugarte Sporting CP (POR) 21 6 Midfielder Federico Valverde Real Madrid (ESP) 24 44 Midfielder Matias Vecino Lazio (ITA) 31 62 Forward Agustin Canobbio Athletico Paranaense (BRA) 24 3 Forward Edinson Cavani Valencia (ESP) 35 133 Forward Giorgian De Arrascaeta Flamengo (BRA) 28 40 Forward Darwin Nunez Liverpool (ENG) 23 13 Forward Luis Suarez Nacional (URU) 35 134 Forward Facundo Torres Orlando City (USA) 22 10

Uruguay national team stars, strengths & weaknesses

Uruguayan players have consistently proven to possess the ideal mix of skill, fight, physicality and tactical nous, making them one of the most competitive sides in world football despite a relatively smaller population of nearly 3.5 million. It's the reason why the country's players are some of the most sought-after talents in the world.

It's those qualities that will once again make them a difficult out in Qatar. 

Stars

While it's tempting to go back to the well and cite the bigger names of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, the truth is that the heartbeat of this team is a 24-year-old who plays for Real Madrid.

Federico Valverde is having himself a sensational season in 2022/23, and that's after finishing strong in 2021/22 with the game-winning assist in the Champions League final. He is a player who has shown he can leave a mark on a match and carry his team in big moments.

It's scary to think what Valverde might be able to accomplish with more games playing behind Liverpool 23-year-old striker Darwin Nunez, who can find goals out of nothing. 

When fit, Barcelona defender Ronald Araujo (below) is a similar unstoppable force on the field. He's a strong one-on-one defender and even stronger in the air when attacking and defending. But he underwent groin surgery in September and is in a race against time to be fit again.

Strengths

Team defense. In nine international matches under Alonso, Uruguay have only conceded two goals, one each to Venezuela and Iran. 

The defending starts from the front and it's supported by a tenacious central midfield featuring Lazio's Matias Vecino or Tottenham's Rodrigo Bentancur alongside Valverde. 

Then at the back, stalwart center-backs Jose Maria Gimenez (Atletico Madrid), Sebastian Coates (Sporting CP), and veterans Martin Caceres (LA Galaxy) and Diego Godin (Velez Sarsfield) are always dependable.

Weaknesses

If Araujo is not fit enough by the opening match, it could prove a major blow. He usually plays at right-back for Uruguay, and the cover will be offered by the experienced Damian Suarez (Getafe) and Guillermo Varela (Flamengo).

Luis Suarez, heading into his fourth World Cup, has been plying his trade back in his native Uruguay in recent months and it's tough to know what to expect of him in Qatar. If the 35-year-old is not up to snuff as Nunez's forward partner, is Alonso ready to bench the captain and most recognizable face on the team?

MORE: Complete FIFA World Cup 2022 match schedule, dates & times

Uruguay World Cup group

Based on FIFA's world rankings and international pedigree, No. 14 Uruguay are expected to be one of the top two teams to get out of Group H.

The pressure will be on to win the opener against South Korea (Nov. 24), though the second matchday against Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo could be the most favorable stylistic matchup. 

Given their history at past World Cups, the last thing Uruguay wants is a Ghana side that has something to play for in the group finale. Revenge will still be on the minds of the Black Stars after the infamous Suarez hand ball on the goal line in 2010, which prevented them from reaching the quarterfinals.

World Cup Group H fixtures and match schedule

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium Thurs, Nov. 24 Uruguay vs. South Korea 8 a.m. Education City Stadium Thurs, Nov. 24 Portugal vs. Ghana 11 a.m. Stadium 974 Mon, Nov. 28 South Korea vs. Ghana 8 a.m. Education City Stadium Mon, Nov. 28 Portugal vs. Uruguay 2 p.m. Lusail Stadium Fri, Dec. 2 South Korea vs. Portugal 10 a.m. Education City Stadium Fri, Dec. 2 Ghana vs. Uruguay 10 a.m. Al Janoub Stadium

Uruguay vs. South Korea squad, lineup

Against a South Korean side that can run all day, Uruguay will need just the right mix of workrate and quality to overcome the Asian side.

From a tactical standpoint, Diego Alonso has tried a mix of formations in his short time on the job, and although the 4-4-2 has worked well, the 3-5-2 could also be an option, giving La Celeste the option of fielding all three of Matias Vecino, Federico Valverde and Rodrigo Bentancur against South Korea's packed five-man midfield.

Uruguay projected starting XI vs South Korea

GK: Rochet

DFs: Araujo — Coates — Gimenez

MFs: Varela — Valverde — Bentancur — Vecino — Oliveira

FWs: Nunez — L. Suarez 

Can Uruguay replace players on World Cup roster?

Once the final 26-man roster is official, participating teams at the World Cup can only make changes before the first game of the tournament, and only in the case of extraordinary circumstances.

According to the official tournament rules (page 32), "a player listed on the final list may only be replaced in the event of serious injury or illness up until 24 hours before the start of his team's first match."

The team in question would need to submit a medical report to FIFA and if the world governing body determines "the injury or illness is sufficiently serious to prevent the player from taking part in the FIFA World Cup" then the replacement will be allowed. 

The replacement player must come from the preliminary list of players submitted to FIFA in October.