The past
Having exited the 2005 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup after a quarter-final defeat to Japan, Uruguay stormed all the way to the Final just one year later. Defeat to a phenomenal Brazil side failed to tarnish an excellent tournament from the Celeste, who underlined their pedigree once more in 2007 by beating 2005 champions France to finish third.

The present
Venancio Ramos' gifted charges have adjusted well to the pressure of being among the region's top sides, though their qualifying route to Marseille 2008 was not problem-free. Having been run very close in their final group game by Paraguay, a semi-final defeat against Argentina forced the Charrúas to play-off for third spot against Venezuela. An emphatic 8-3 win ensured their place in Marseille where, thanks to the quality and experience of Diego, Coco, Pampero, Parrilo and serial goalgetter Ricar, Uruguay have every chance of going all the way.

The future
"It didn't make any difference whether we finished second or third, and nor are we disappointed with our performance. Our main objective was to qualify, no matter how we did it. Now we're going to begin our preparations with the aim of getting on the podium again, at the very least," said coach Ramos after a place at Marseille 2008 was assured.

Facts and figures

Former stars
Seba (2005).

Key players
Diego (goalkeeper), Coco (defender) and Ricar (wide player).

Qualifying statistics
Uruguay played four games at the Sudamericano, winning two and losing two, scoring 11 goals and conceding 18 in the process. Diego was voted the tournament's finest custodian.

The numbers game
3. The number of times Uruguay have appeared at the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup finals. Marseille 2008 will be the fourth consecutive edition of the showpiece event for the Celeste, who came second in 2006 and third in 2007.