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What Went Wrong for Uruguay at the Brazil 2014 World Cup?

Dan ColasimoneContributor IJune 30, 2014

What Went Wrong for Uruguay at the Brazil 2014 World Cup?

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    Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    In spite of the country's tiny population, Uruguay has the right to be regarded as a footballing power, both historically and in recent times.

    Their exit from the 2014 World Cup at the first knockout phase must be regarded as something of a disappointment, then, especially considering the fact they had already escaped from an extremely tough group.

    Wins against England and Italy counted for little as Uruguay were bundled out by a superior Colombia side who defeated them 2-0 on Saturday.

    So what went wrong for the side who made the semi-finals in 2010 and won the 2011 Copa America?

    Here are four reasons the Uruguayans came up short in Brazil.

Suarez's Brain Explosion

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    After missing out on Uruguay's first-up loss to Costa Rica, star man Luis Suarez came back to almost single-handedly tear apart England.

    The English defence, who should be familiar with the mercurial forward thanks to his Liverpool antics, had no answer to his sublime skills as he scored two goals to snuff out the Three Lions' chances at the World Cup.

    He was handled better by the Italians, but he is clearly the talisman of the current Uruguay side who makes the players around him lift by his mere presence.

    Suarez's unfathomable decision to sink his teeth into Giorgio Chiellini cost his team dearly.

    Not only did it get him suspended for the Colombia match, it created a media frenzy around the squad which could only have served as a major distraction.

    Coach Oscar Tabarez attempted to use the incident to rally his troops, but in the end, Colombia were just too good for a Suarez-less Uruguay.

The Costa Rica Slip-Up

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    Michael Steele/Getty Images

    The absence of Suarez was surely a factor in Uruguay's shock loss to Costa Rica, but other elements must have played a part as well.

    Perhaps they underestimated their CONCACAF opponents or were not in peak physical condition in time for their opening game, or maybe La Celeste were too focused on the upcoming games with England and Italy.

    Whatever the case, Costa Rica were clearly the better side on the day and dished out a decisive 3-1 defeat to the 2010 semi-finalists.

    From that point on, Uruguay were playing catch-up.

    Though they do seem to enjoy backs-to-the-wall scenarios, the fact they finished second in the group meant a tougher knockout round matchup than if they had finished top. 

    Had they played Greece in the round of 16 instead of Colombia, the Uruguayans may still be alive.

Cavani Failing to Fire

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    Julian Finney/Getty Images

    With Suarez missing for two out of Uruguay's four World Cup games, the side's other go-to man, Edinson Cavani, needed to take charge.

    The Paris Saint-Germain player toiled hard in every game, but he was not potent enough as an attacking force to lift his team.

    He was unable to find the net after his early goal against Costa Rica or create enough chances for teammates to make up for the absence of his temperamental sidekick.

    A fully firing Cavani could have made a major difference to Uruguay's campaign. 

An Ageing Squad

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    Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

    Certain members of Uruguay's squad were not able to have the same impact on the tournament as they had done four years earlier.

    The most notable examples of players who have waned since the glory days of South Africa are the two Diegos, Forlan and Lugano.

    The playmaking forward was the player of the tournament in 2010, but his ageing legs only allowed him to make sporadic contributions to the cause this time around.

    Lugano, meanwhile, also lacks the physical capacity to remain Uruguay's leader at the back.

    La Celeste missed the angel-faced hatchet man's powerful presence on the pitch after he succumbed to injury after the opening game, but even when he was on the field, he was unable to live up to his outstanding performances of the past.

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