Goalkeepers: Martín Campaña (Independiente), Fernando Muslera (Galatasaray), Martín Silva (Vasco da Gama)
Defenders: Sebastián Coates (Sporting Lisbon), Jorge Fucile (Nacional), Jose Giménez (Atlético Madrid), Diego Godín (Atlético Madrid), Alvaro Pereira (Getafe), Maximiliano Pereira (Porto), Mauricio Victorino (Nacional)
Midfielders: Arévalo Rios (Atlas), Matías Corujo (Universidad de Chile), Álvaro González (Atlas), Nicolás Lodeiro (Boca Juniors), Gastón Ramírez (Middlesbrough), Diego Laxalt (Inter Milan), Carlos Sánchez (Monterrey), Matías Vecino (Fiorentina)
Attackers: Edinson Cavani (Paris Saint-German), Abel Hernández (Hull City), Diego Rolán (Bordeaux), Cristhian Stuani (Middlesbrough), Luis Suárez (Barcelona)
The Skinny: While he may be on the 23-man roster, Luis Suarez is expected to miss the entire Copa America with an injury.
The deadly Barcelona striker and possible cannibal missing the tournament shakes up the entire structure of the knockout stage. Uruguay with Suarez would be one of the favorites to leave with the trophy. Without Suarez, they may not win their first elimination game. It’s hard to imagine one player having such an impact, but Suarez has proven time and time again to be prolific in front of goal, and he is certainly one of if not the top out-and-out strikers in the world. He is so good that he pushed Lionel Messi, the world’s best player, out to the wing to make room for himself front and center on the pitch.
Losing Luis Suarez takes some of the teeth out of Uruguay’s attack
Without Suarez, the pressure to score will fall on the shoulders of PSG striker Edinson Cavani. Luckily for Uruguay fans, Cavani is more than capable of putting the ball in the back of the net. While he is less of a pure striker than Suarez, and generally scores fewer goals as such, Cavani is a top striker in his own right and he should provide enough firepower up front for Uruguay to get through the group stages without breaking too much of a sweat. Suarez’s injury may create an opportunity for pacey Hull City striker Abel Hernandez to get more involved and Hernandez is very talented in his own right.
In defense, Uruguay looks strong as ever with captain Diego Godin and his Atletico Madrid teammate Jose Maria Gimenez likely partnering in the back in front of Fernando Muslera in goal. With Maxi Pereira as a fullback as well, Uruguay will be a very difficult team create chances against, much less score goals.
Veteran Maxi Pereira is a key part of Uruguay’s defense
Where Uruguay may struggle is in the midfield. Gaston Ramirez has been in terrible form and earned himself a release from Southampton, and none of the other names on the team sheet will strike fear into the hearts of their opposition. Uruguay will need someone in the midfield to step up and play well for them to beat teams in the knockout stages.
Uruguay fans have to be incredibly disappointed at the poor timing of Suarez’s injury. With him leading the line, Uruguay looked poised to strike, and possibly win the entire tournament. Without him, it remains to be seen how far they can advance. They bowed out of the World Cup in the first knockout game without Suarez. However, losing Suarez shouldn’t take away all of Uruguay’s bite. They still have the talent up front and in defense to make a run at the Copa America, but winning the title seems unlikely.
Unfortunately for the gambling crowd, Suarez’s injury also means that “Will Suarez bite someone” is no longer on the prop bet menu.
Key Performers: Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin, Fernando Muslera
Predicted Finish in Group C: Second Place