What centre-half Walter Gargano might lack in stature, he more than makes up for with his insatiable appetite for hard work, his ability to time tackles and his ease on the ball. Capable of making the hard things look easy, Gargano is as reliable as they come.
Yet another product of the Danubio youth academy, the polished central defender played his first top-flight game for La Franja in 2003, going on to win the 2004 and 2006/07 league championships. That second triumph provided a springboard to Europe, where he joined Napoli, quickly becoming a valued member of the side.
Affectionately known as Mota, he has been a regular feature of the Uruguay side since he was first called up by Oscar Tabarez for the 2-1 friendly win over Libya in Tunis in May 2006.
A member of the squad that travelled to Venezuela for the 2007 Copa America, he came on as a substitute in three of Uruguay’s six games, sitting out the other three. But after watching the first two of his country’s South Africa 2010 qualifying matches, he was handed a starting place for their third game, remaining in the team until he was sidelined with injury in early 2009.
He eventually made his return in September, in time for the last four games in the group, although a further knock kept him out of the play-off against Costa Rica. Fitness permitting, he seems assured of a start in Uruguay’s opening game against France.