It’d take a particular kind of silliness to term as dark horses a country that has won the World Cup twice, made the last eight, the last 16 and the last four in the previous three tournaments, and been champions of South America 15 times. But Uruguay start this competition as outsiders, despite a pedigree rooted both in history and the contemporary.
Partly, that reflects the difficult of the group they’re in, but even so, the 40-1 at which they were available last evening is unreflective of a squad packed with class and wildness. Boasting José María Giménez at the back, Federico Valverde and Rodrigo Bentancur in midfield, with Darwin Núñez and Luis Suárez up front, Uruguay are absolutely not to be trifled with.
Nor, though are South Korea. Son Heung-min is fit – though perhaps not match fit – while Jeong Woo-Yeong’s Freiburg have made a fine start to the Bundesliga season. That gives them a decent goal-threat while, in midfield and defence, they’ve the solidity and security of players who’ve been together a long time.
Which to say that the Group of Death is go!
Kick-off: 4pm local, 1pm GMT