Energy, versatility and goals: why Federico Valverde is key for Uruguay

Uruguay’s squad at the World Cup is packed with talent in defence and attack, but the Real Madrid midfielder is the starBy Ben McAleer for WhoScoredQualifying for Qatar was not plain sailing for Uruguay. Their qualifying campaign in South America began with a run of two wins from their first seven games and they were dealt a tough hand this time last year, when they faced Colombia, Brazil, Argentina (twice) and a trip to the high altitudes of La Paz in Bolivia in a two-month spell. They picked up just one point from those five games and looked in danger of missing the finals for the first time since 2006.However, when the going got tough, Uruguay got going. They won their final four qualifying matches and finished third in the 10-team group, behind Brazil and Argentina. The two-time world champions are now many fans’ dark horses and it’s easy to see why.

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