For a country with a population of approximately three million, Uruguay has a rich and impressive football history that much larger countries would be proud of. Uruguay are two time winners of the FIFA World Cup; their first title coming at the first ever World Cup in 1930 when, as hosts, they beat Argentina in the final 4-2. Their second title followed twenty years later when they defeated their fellow South Americans Brazil 2-1 in 1950. In addition, Uruguay has managed to rack up two summer Olympic titles and fourteen Copa América's over during their history. This makes them one of the most successful national teams in the world. Recent years have unfortunately not been so favourable for La Celeste, qualifying for the World Cup only twice in the competition's last five finals. While still a strong side in South America, finishing in the top four at the last two Copa América's respectively, Uruguay is now looking to re-establish themselves on the global stage.
Uruguay hosted the first World Cup in 1930. They had won the previous two Olympic games and they dominated the tournament, winning every match. Uruguay refused to participate in the next two World Cups, reacting to the European boycott of the World Cup they hosted. When they returned to the tournament in 1950, they defeated Brazil in a major upset. They finished fourth in the following tournament in 1954, but since then the team has struggled to relive their past success. They are still the smallest nation to have ever won the World Cup, with a population of slightly under 4 million. In comparison to Argentina, the second smallest winner, who has a population of 40 million.
Uruguay has qualified for the upcoming World Cup in South Africa, having failed to qualify for the previous tournament. They are currently ranked a high 16th in the world by FIFA, and the third best team in South America, behind Argentina and Brazil.
Uruguay is drawn in Group A along with France, Mexico and South Africa. This is probably the weakest group in the competition, with a weak French side who struggled through qualifying. Uruguay has a reasonable chance of getting through, though progress beyond the second round seems unlikely.
Pedro Cea: A star for the Uruguayan side in the 20s and 30s, he won two Olympic gold medals as well as the World Cup in 1930. He also managed Uruguay for a year in the 40s, taking them to a Copa American victory.
Jose Nasazzi: The captain of the 1930 World Cup winning side, Nasazzi is widely considered the greatest Uruguayan football player of all time. Playing right back, he was nicknamed "The Great Marshall", presumably for his ability to marshal the defence.
Diego Forlan: First coming to public notice with his mostly disastrous first season for Manchester United, where he was nicknamed "Diego Forlorn" for his inability to score any goals (he went 8 months from his début to his first goal), Forlan managed to turn that reputation around when he moved to Villareal. In the 2003-2004 season, he became the joint winner of the Golden Boot award for top scorer in Europe. He currently plays for Athletico Madrid.