FIFA RANK: 18
Quick, name the five countries that have won multiple World Cups. All the usual suspects are there: Brazil, Italy, Argentina, Germany and..wait for it...Uruguay! What?
Its true, most new age soccer fans don't realize it, but Uruguay is one of the most successful nations in World Cup history. "La Celeste" (The Sky Blue) have won two cups, 1930 and 1950. And they probably would have won a third had World War II not suspended the '42 and '46 competitions.
Unfortunately, there hasn't been much success for La Celeste since. The last significant accomplishment was a fourth place finish 40 years ago in Mexico.
So will Uruguay regain some of its glory this summer in South Africa?
Short answer...probably not. The truth is this squad underwhelmed during qualifying. They finished fifth in South America and were forced to play Costa Rica in a two game playoff. They won on the road, but struggled at home when they should have easily put the Ticos away.
That's exactly the kind of inconsistency that drives their fans crazy. La Celeste play hard and win some tough ones on the road, then play horrible and lose some head scratchers at home. Compare it to the Lakers' Ron Artest taking two horrible shots in the last minute of Game 5 of the Conference Finals, then hitting a game winner a few seconds later. That's Uruguay in a nutshell.
Despite the inconsistency, La Celeste are still feared because they can put up goals with the best of them. Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez and Sebastian Abreu are arguably the top attacking trio in the World Cup. Diego Lugano is Uruguay's best defender and must play well because this squad has been known to struggle and lose their cool when they go down early.
I honestly don't see Uruguay going through to the second round. They've been drawn into a tricky group and will have to play well in all three matches, and as recent history has shown, consistency and Uruguay don't match unless we're talking about La Celeste that held the cup decades ago.
June 11 vs. France - 1:30 p.m. CT (Could be good matchup for Uruguay, French always start slow)
June 16 vs. South Africa - 1:30 p.m. CT (Both will likely be desperate for points, Uruguay's offense should carry them)
June 22 vs. Mexico - 9 a.m. CT (Likely battle for second spot in group)
NEXT ON THE PITCH: CHILE