Uruguay fans united by Jimmy Baikovicius / Flickr
Unofficial football world champions Uruguay are aiming to become official world champions at next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil. Uruguay qualified for the World Cup courtesy of a 5-0 aggregate play-off win over Jordan across two UFWC title matches. Uruguay became UFWC champions in October after beating Argentina 3-2. It’s been a good year for La Celeste, and they will hope that next year will be even better.
Uruguay finish 2013 ranked 6th in the world by FIFA, ahead of the likes of Brazil, Italy and the Netherlands. In the UFWC ranking table, Uruguay stand just outside the top ten in 11th position, having won a total of 18 title matches.
World Cup winners in 1930 and 1950, they first participated in the UFWC in April 1952, losing 0-2 to then-champions Chile. The first UFWC win came almost a year later, in March 1953, when the World Cup holders beat Peru 3-0 in Lima to become combined WC and UFWC champions. Uruguay are one of only eight sides to have held both the official and unofficial titles simultaneously.
A win over England followed, before Uruguay lost the UFWC title to Paraguay. West Germany won the World Cup in 1954, and Uruguay have not been official champions since. However, they did regain the unofficial title in 1958, defeating Argentina 1-0 – only to lose 2-0 to the same side just a few days later. A 3-0 Copa America win over Brazil in December 1959 began another reign as UFWC champions, lasting until an August 1960 defeat by Argentina.
Uruguay didn’t regain the UFWC title until 1981, when they beat Brazil 2-1 in a friendly in Montevideo. This reign as unofficial champions lasted only four matches. In 1986, they played reigning UFWC champions West Germany at the World Cup Finals in Mexico, but could only draw 1-1 so didn’t take the title.
The next win came in 2006, when Uruguay, playing under new coach Oscar Tabarez, beat Romania 2-0, then went on a five-match run as unofficial champions before losing the title to Venezuela, regaining it in the next match, then losing it to Georgia. Uruguay’s next UFWC title match, at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, ended in a 2-3 loss to the Netherlands.
Uruguay’s coach is still Oscar Tabarez, El Maestro, and the current captain is Diego Lugano of West Bromwich Albion. The country’s most-capped player, Diego Forlan, is still involved, but Uruguay has plenty of other star names – most notably strikers Luis Suarez of Liverpool and Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint Germain.
Suarez is the country’s all-time top-scorer with 39 goals, while Cavani has 20. Both will be contenders for the Golden Boot at Brazil 2014. Fans who fancy a bet on next year’s action might do well to back one of them to be the tournament’s top scorer. Punters who are all played out for now can relax at a tablet casino site for blackjack tips and site recommendations.
Uruguay were one of the last teams to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, courtesy of the play-off win over Jordan, but went into the draw as a top seed based on their FIFA ranking. However, they arguably had the toughest draw of any top seed, finding themselves in Group D with Costa Rica, England and Italy. Uruguay’s first World Cup match will be on 14 June in Fortaleza against Costa Rica.
Of course there are warm up matches to be played ahead of that date, one of which has already been announced. Uruguay will play Austria in Klagenfurt on 5 March, and as things stand that will be the next UFWC title match. Austria did not qualify for the World Cup.
Ahead of the 2010 World Cup, at which they finished in fourth place, Uruguay played just two warm up matches, against Switzerland and Israel in March and May respectively. So we can expect at least a couple of UFWC title matches before the World Cup kicks off in June 2014.
There’s plenty to look forward to in 2014, but before then we’re going to take a look back at 2013 with our UFWC review of the year, which will appear here on Monday. We’ll also have exciting news about a new UFWC book. Follow us on Twitter or Facebook to stay up to date.