Five Things to Know about Uruguay

Watch USA take on Uruguay in their Copa América 2024 Group C finale at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday, July 1 at 9 p.m. ET
Six players on the Uruguay national team celebrate on the pitch
Six players on the Uruguay national team celebrate on the pitch

The USMNT meets Uruguay in its third Copa América 2024 Group C match at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium on Monday, July 1 at 9 p.m. ET (FS1, Univision, TUDN, FDP Radio).

The Americans enter the match with a 1-1-0 record and four points in the group after a shorthanded 2-1 loss to Panama on Thursday and a 2-0 win over Bolivia the previous Sunday. Uruguay currently sit atop the group with a pair of wins over Panama and Bolivia and a goal differential of +7.

The USMNT has advanced into the knockout round in two of its previous four Copa América appearances. The team was eliminated in the group stage in 1993 and 2007 and reached the semifinals in 1995 and 2016.

The Uruguayans need at least a draw to advance to the quarterfinals. The top two teams in each group will qualify for the knockout rounds.


La Celeste has won 15 Copa América titles, tying them with Argentina for the most tournament victories all-time. Their most recent victory came in 2011. They have been runners-up six times and took third place on nine occasions.

Uruguay enjoys one of the most storied football histories in the game. The Uruguayans won back-to-back Olympic gold medals in 1924 and 1928. They hosted the very first FIFA World Cup in 1930, winning that tournament by besting archrival Argentina in the final.

After refusing to participate in the 1934 and 1938 competitions, they secured their second world championship in Brazil in 1950. The South Americans pulled off yet another second-half comeback behind goals by Juan Schiaffino and Alcides Ghiggia to beat host Brazil 2-1 before a FIFA World Cup record crowd of 173,850 at Maracanã Stadium.

While Uruguay has not won a FIFA World Cup since, the nation has finished in fourth place three times - 1954, 1970 and 2010.

The South American side reached the quarterfinals at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and failed to get out of the group stage in Qatar in 2022.


The U.S. is 2-2-4 against La Celeste in a series that goes back a century.

The teams met for the very first time at the 1924 Paris Olympics (Olympic matches were considered full internationals in those days). After the USA dispatched Estonia 1-0 in the first round, the Americans dropped a 3-0 decision to the South Americans in the second round as the legendary Pedro Petrone (10th and 44th minutes) and Hector Scarone (15th minute) scored. The Uruguayans went on to win their first of consecutive gold medals. They also captured the first World Cup in 1930.

In their second encounter six decades later, the teams battled to a 1-1 draw in Miami, Fla. on Feb. 7, 1986. as Bruce Murray tallied the first of his 21 international goals to give the hosts a 1-0 lead.

In Bora Milutinovic's head coaching debut for the U.S., the Americans posted their first win over Uruguay, 1-0, in Denver, Colo., on May 5, 1991. Peter Vermes' 15-yard shot found the net in the 26th minute after a Chris Henderson free kick, although the Uruguayans claimed the former was offside before 35,772 at Mile High Stadium. Tony Meola made seven saves.

In its opening match at Copa América, Uruguay exacted a measure of revenge by posting a 1-0 victory in Ambato, Ecuador on June 16, 1993. Santiago Ostolaza headed home Hector Moran's corner kick in the 50th minute for the lone score.

Mother Nature had the final say in the March 25, 1995 encounter at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. Gusty winds forced the game to be called in the 83rd minute after blowing sideboards onto the field. Referee Antonio Marrufo abandoned the game, which ended in a 2-2 draw in front of 12,242 rain-soaked fans. Cobi Jones set up goals by John Kerr (eighth minute) and Earnie Stewart (67th) before the South American side rallied.

DaMarcus Beasley connected for the insurance goal in the 40th minute to propel the hosts to a 2-1 win in front of a crowd of 30,413 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on May 12, 2002. Tony Sanneh found the net in the sixth minute.

In a 1-1 draw at Busch Stadium in St. Louis on Sept. 10, 2019, Jordan Morris scored his first international goal in more than two years in the 79th minute, snapping the USA's 262-minute goalless streak. Brian Rodriguez had given fifth-ranked Uruguay a 50th-minute advantage.

In their most recent meeting on June 5, 2022, the teams played to a scoreless draw in Kansas City, Kansas. Keeper Sean Johnson recorded the clean sheet for the USA, Fernando Muslera for Uruguay.


Marcelo Bielsa took over the reins on May 15, 2023, after the team's poor performance at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The Uruguayans finished a disappointing third in their group, behind Portugal and Korea Republic. Bielsa, 68, replaced caretaker coach Marcelo Broli, and became only the second foreigner to guide the South American squad. Former Argentine star Daniel Passarella was the first.

Under Bielsa, Uruguay is 9-2-3.

After five years as a defender for Newell's Old Boys, Instituto and Argentino de Rosario, Bielsa decided to continue his career in soccer in another way at the age of 25. He became a scout for Newell's, and then coached the youth team before assuming the No. 1 role with the club in 1990. Under his guidance, Newell's Old Boys won the 1990 Torneo Apertura and the 1990–91 Torneo Integración. The team reached 1992 Copa Libertadores final.

He coached Argentina at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and directed the country's Under-23 side to the 2004 gold medal at the Athens Olympics. He also has run the show as Chile’s manager.

Bielsa has additionally managed a host of club teams, including Atlas, Velez Sarsfield, Espanyol, Athletic Bilboa, Marseille, Lazio, Lille, and Leeds United.


The Uruguayans are in second place among South American sides in 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers with a 4-1-1 mark and 13 points. The top six teams will qualify.

Since the start of the year, La Celeste is 3-1-1.

Uruguay began with a 1-1 draw at Basque Country in a non-FIFA friendly in Bilbao, Spain on March 23. Matías Vecino's goal a minute into the second half equalized for the visitors.

Three days later in Lens, France, the South Americans suffered a 2-1 loss to Ivory Coast. After a 10th-minute own goal gave the Africans a 1-0 lead, Federico Viñas knotted it up in the 77th minute. Guéla Doué, however, scored the game-winner in the 85th minute.

In a Copa warm-up match in Denver, Colo. on June 5, the Uruguayans rolled to a 4-0 triumph over Mexico behind Darwin Núñez's hat-trick (goals in the seventh, 44th and 49th minutes). Facundo Pellistri added a 26th-minute tally. Goalie Sergio Rochet recorded the shutout.

The Uruguayans started off Copa on the right foot behind a 3-1 victory over Panama in Miami on June 23. Maximiliano Araújo lifted the team into a 16th-minute lead before Núñez (85th minute) and Matías Viña (one minute into stoppage) gave them some breathing room.

La Celeste then rolled to a 5-0 triumph over Bolivia to win its second match of this Copa América on Thursday night. Pellistri struck in the eighth minute and Núñez (21st minute) made it a two-goal lead by halftime before Maximiliano Araújo (77th minute), Federico Valverde (81st minute) and Rodrigo Bentancur (89th minute) tallied in the final half. It was Uruguay's first five-goal match since a 5-0 friendly win in June 2022.


Manager Marcelo Bielsa selected a 26-man roster that has players performing in some of the top leagues in the world. That includes Spain's La Liga, Italy's Serie A, France's Ligue 1 and England's Premier League. Players also compete in Brazil, Colombia, Portugal, Mexico, Denmark, Russia and the United States.

Six players perform in Brazil, five in Spain. None play in the Uruguayan domestic leagues.

La Celeste roster boasts some of the best players in the world. As a member of Real Madrid, midfielder Federico Valverde has won two La Liga titles, two FIFA Club World Cups, two UEFA Champions League crowns, a UEFA Super Cup, and the Copa del Rey.

Forward Darwin Núñez, 25, is red hot. He has struck 13 times in 25 international appearances, an outstanding strike rate. Núñez, who has tallied 20 goals for Liverpool the past two EPL seasons, and midfielder Maximiliano Araújo lead the team with two goals apiece in Copa América play.

Inter Miami CF forward Luis Suárez, who at 37 is the team’s oldest player, leads the squad in goals (68) and appearances (138). He has yet to score in Copa, not playing in the opener and having a seven-minute cameo in the win over Bolivia. Suárez is tied with Miami teammate Lionel Messi for fourth place among Major League Soccer goal-scorers (12). He has also assisted five times.

The Uruguayans have a relatively young squad as many players in their prime, with only four that are 30 years old or older.

Forward Facundo Pellistri is the youngest player on the squad at 22.


GOALKEEPERS (3): Sergio Rochet (Internacional/BRA; 21/0), Santiago Mele (Junior de Barranquilla/COL; 4/0), Franco Israel (Sporting Clube/POR; 2/0)

DEFENDERS (9): Ronald Araújo (Barcelona/ESP; 18/1), José Giménez (Atlético Madrid/ESP; 85/8), Nicolás Marichal (Dynamo Moscow/RUS; 1/0), Matías Viña (Flamengo/BRA; 38/1), Lucas Olaza (Krasnodar/RUS; 4/0), Mathías Olivera (Napoli/ITA; 20/1), Sebastián Cáceres (Club América/MEX; 13/0), Guillermo Varela (Flamengo/BRA; 15/0), Nahitan Nández (Cagliari/ITA; 58/0)

MIDFIELDERS (8): Maximiliano Araújo (Toluca/MEX; 10/3), Manuel Ugarte (Paris Saint-Germain/ FRA; 18/0), Rodrigo Bentancur (Tottenham/ENG; 61/2), Federico Valverde (Real Madrid/ESP; 58/7), Emiliano Martínez (Midtjylland/DEN; 2/0), Nicolás de la Cruz (Flamengo/BRA; 27/5), Giorgian De Arrascaeta (Flamengo/BRA; 47/10), Agustín Canobbio (Athletico Paranaense/BRA; 12/1)

FORWARDS (6): Brian Rodríguez (Club América/MEX; 23/4), Brian Ocampo (Cádiz/ESP; 1/0), Facundo Pellistri (Granada/ESP; 22/2), Cristian Olivera (Los Angeles FC/USA; 4/0), Darwin Núñez (Liverpool/ENG; 25/13), Luis Suárez (Inter Miami/USA; 138/68)