FIFA World Cup™ finals history
Uruguay have a proud history at FIFA's flagship event. Victorious at the inaugural World Cup in 1930, a tournament they hosted, La Celeste collected their second world title 20 years later in Brazil, a triumph sealed by El Maracanazo, their momentous defeat of the hosts in the final game of the competition. They remained in the elite until Mexico 1970, since when they have missed out on qualification on four occasions (Argentina 1978, Spain 1982, USA 1994 and France 1998). Present at 12 world finals in all, Uruguay enjoyed a long-awaited return to prominence at South Africa 2010, where they took fourth place. Uruguay finished second in the CONMEBOL standings for Russia 2018 qualifying after reaching the finals on the final matchday with a 4-2 win over Bolivia. 

The team
La Celeste are going through something of a transitional phase, as the veterans of the South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 campaigns begin to make way for a new generation of players emerging from the country’s youth sides. The team’s figurehead is Luis Suarez, who top-scored in the last South American preliminaries with 11 goals and whose recent exploits in front of goal are firing Uruguayan hopes of landing a place at Russia 2018. With another fine striker alongside him in Edinson Cavani, Los Charrúas possess a sharp cutting edge up front, one that could see them improve on a run of four consecutive fifth-place finishes in the CONMEBOL group.

The coach
Oscar Washington Tabarez is an institution in Uruguayan football, having taken charge of the national team at Italy 1990, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014. Known as El Maestro, Tabarez is an attack-minded coach fabled for his astute tactics and fatherly approach to his players. The mastermind of Uruguay’s 2011 Copa America title win, he also has extensive experience at club level, with Penarol, Boca Juniors and Milan among the sides he has coached.

The stat
51 - The total number of matches Uruguay have played in the world finals, a tally bettered only by Germany with 106, Brazil (104), Italy (83), Argentina (77), England (62), Spain (59), France (59) and Mexico (53).

The former stars
Hector Scarone, Angel Romano, Obdulio Varela, Roque Maspoli, Alcides Ghiggia, Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, Pedro Rocha, Rodolfo Rodriguez, Ruben Sosa, Enzo Francescoli, Alvaro Recoba, Diego Forlan