It’s been a long time since an ABC World Cup update, so I’ll forgive you for forgetting who the reigning champions are. Back in November, Uruguay claimed the trophy for the first time by beating Copa America winners Chile. In March’s international break they played their first games as holders and also welcomed back Luis Suarez from his ban.
First up on the 26th, they travelled to previous winners Brazil (who have also held the trophy for the record amount of games) in a 2018 World Cup qualifier and drew 2-2 in Recife. Douglas Costa opened the scoring inside a minute for Le Seleção and when Renato Augusto made it 2-0, all looked rosy for the hosts. But Edinson Cavani pulled one back before half-time and Suarez – playing for his country for the first time since being suspended for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup – struck early in the second half to earn a point for Uruguay. Suarez and his Barcelona team-mate Neymar had had a friendly bet on the result – loser buys the hamburgers – but both will have to pay their own way after the spoils were shared.
Then it was back home for another qualifier on the 30th, which Uruguay won 1-0 against Peru. After a scoreless first half, the deadlock was broken at the Estadio Centenario eight minutes into the second, Cavani smashing home a powerful strike after being played in by strike partner Luis Suarez. The goalscorer had a chance to double the advantage just a minute later but saw a free header crash off the crossbar, while Carlos Sanchez had a close-range effort saved.
Uruguay currently top their group in South American qualification with 13 points, the same as second place Ecuador. Next up is a friendly against Trinidad and Tobago in May, before they compete in the Copa America in June. They face Mexico, Venezuela and Jamaica in their Group C fixtures. I’ll keep you updated throughout the tournament, whilst below is the complete history of the ABC World Cup…