Uruguay football team may boast two Olympic gold medals, but with both won in the 1920s, la Celeste are desperate to win their first Olympic gold in the modern era. The mere fact that the national team boss Oscar Tabarez is in charge of the Under-23 sides is a real testament to their ambitions. Uruguay arrive to Great Britain with a star-studded squad and there are no doubts they are serious title contenders.
Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Egidio Arevalo Rios, three stalwarts of the national team, have been picked as players over the age of 23 and they are all expected to have a big role to play at the tournament finals. Besides the star trio of over-age players, Uruguay squad feature plenty of talented youngsters such as Sebastian Coates, Nicolas Lodeiro, Gaston Ramirez and Abel Hernandez.
Uruguay Olympic 2012 Squad
Goalkeepers: Martin Campana (Cerro Largo), Leandro Gelpi (Penarol).
Defenders: Sebastian Coates (Liverpool), Alexis Rolin (Nacional), Ramon Arias (Defensor Sporting), Emiliano Albin (Pebarol), Diego Polenta (Bari), Matías Aguirregaray (Palermo).
Midfielders: Maximiliano Calzada (Nacional), Egidio Arevalo Rios* (Palermo), Diego Rodriguez (Defensor Sporting), Gastón Ramirez (Bologna), Nicolas Lodeiro (Botafogo), Jonathan Urretaviscaya (Vitoria Guimaraes), Tabare Viudez (Nacional).
Forwards: Luis Suarez* (Liverpool), Edinson Cavani* (Napoli), Abel Hernandez (Palermo).
Uruguay boast a 100% record at the Olympic Games, having won two gold medals in as many appearances, in 1924 and 1928. Following a long line of unsuccessful qualifying campaigns, La Celeste finally managed to make it to the 2012 London Olympics, meaning this will be their first appearance at the Games after exactly 84 years.
Uruguay national team were struggling to match the more illustrious sides in South America at the beginning of the 21st century, that is until Oscar Tabarez took over the reigns. After leading his country to the 2007 Copa America and 2010 World Cup semi-finals, Tabarez guided la Celeste to the 2011 Copa America title, which is his biggest success to date. If anybody can lead Uruguay to their third Olympics gold it is El Maestro.
Players to Watch
In Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, Uruguay have by far the best attacking partnership at the Games, as these are the players who already have 39 national team goals between them. The third over-age player Egidio Arevalo Rios is also a key member of the senior national team and arguably one of the best holding midfielders in South America. Bologna playmaker Gaston Ramirez, one of the most sought-after players in Italian Serie A, is also tipped to shine.
Uruguay should have no problems progressing from the group stage and seeing they will face either Switzerland or Mexico in the quarter-finals, la Celeste can be trusted to make it to the last four. However, with one of Spain or Brazil their likely opponents in the semis, Oscar Tabarez’s side will have their work cut out for them. Nonetheless, odds of 2.88 (17/9) offered by BetVictor on Uruguay to finish in top 3 do look tempting.