Despite finding themselves in the play-offs for the fourth time in a row, Uruguay were not to be denied a place at Brazil 2014 and a 12th appearance overall at the FIFA World Cup™. Here, FIFA.com takes a look at some of the key numbers in La Celeste’s qualifying campaign.
The minutes played by Edinson Cavani, the player used most by coach Oscar Tabarez in Uruguay’s qualifying campaign. The striker was the only one to start all 18 games, averaging 84 minutes per match. The Paris Saint-Germain forward is followed by defender Diego Godin (1,440 in 16 games) and midfielder Egidio Arevalo Rios (1,423 in 17).
- The number of players used by Uruguay in their qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014. That means Tabarez called on fewer squad members than any other team in the CONMEBOL. In ascending order, Uruguay were followed in this respect by Ecuador (33), Colombia (35), Chile (38), Venezuela (39), Argentina (44), Peru (47), Bolivia (51) and Paraguay (52).
The goals scored by Luis Suarez, who became the first Uruguayan to finish as top scorer in South American World Cup qualifying since the single group format was introduced ahead of France 1998. El Pistolero, who now has 16 qualifying goals for Uruguay, was followed by Cavani with six. Cristian Rodriguez scored three, while Christian Stuani, Diego Forlan, Maximiliano Pereira and Diego Lugano all netted twice. Sebastian Eguren and Nicolas Lodeiro were on target once.
Uruguay have now been in four consecutive intercontinental play-offs in World Cup qualifying. The South Americans have triumphed in three of those, against Australia in 2001, Costa Rica in 2009 and now Jordan in 2013. Their only failure was against the Australians in 2005.
The number of times Oscar Tabarez has guided Uruguay to a World Cup – a unique feat in the region. El Maestro led La Celeste to Italy 1990, when they reached the last 16, and South Africa 2010, where they made the semi-finals. If, as expected, Tabarez leads Uruguay at Brazil 2014, he will equal the mark set by Mario Zagallo, the only South American to coach the same side at three different World Cups.
The number of players handed their senior debuts by Tabarez during World Cup qualifying. They are 18-year-old Atletico Madrid centre-back Jose Gimenez and full-back/midfielder Alejandro Silva of Olimpia in Paraguay. Olimpia’s 30-year-old goalkeeper Martin Silva was also given his first minutes in a World Cup qualifying campaign, along with Estudiantes de la Plata full-back Matias Aguirregaray (24) and Espanyol striker Stuani (27).
Uruguay did not receive a single red card in the South American qualifying campaign, an achievement matched only by Paraguay. However, their players were shown a total of 41 yellow cards (2.27 per game, not including the play-off games), making La Celeste the team with the most bookings after Bolivia and Peru, each with 42. Zero could also represent the number of defeats suffered by Uruguay at home during the qualifying campaign for Brazil 2014, something they had not managed in any of the previous four editions in the current format. La Celeste lost once at home in the lead-up to France 1998 and Korea/Japan 2002, then twice in the campaigns preceding Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010.