The day has come.
Finally, the day that every Uruguayan fan has waited for has arrived. The World Cup debut has the whole country thrilled with excitement. Every lucky charm is placed in the right place, and TV shops have sold out their big plasma screens.
It's fair to say this is the most anticipated game since the Copa America final in 2011. With that trophy and the previous World Cup experience on their backs, head coach Oscar Tabarez's squad will have a large amount of pressure to handle. The scenario could not be better, as a huge number of fans grabbed the opportunity to live the Cup live from the stands and got to Brazil by plane, bus, car, motor home or hitchhiking.
Tabarez confirmed the first team and the eleven men who will take to the Arena Castelao field on Saturday: Fernando Muslera, Maximiliano Pereira, Diego Lugano, Diego Godin, Martin Caceres, Egidio Arevalo Rios, Walter Gargano, Cristian Stuani, Cristian Rodriguez, Diego Forlan and Edinson Cavani.
As was foreseen, star forward Luis Suarez will not take the pitch when the whistle blows. La Celeste's "predator" -- as the local TV commentator nicknamed him -- will have a rough time holding back his explosive desire to run into the field and fight for every ball. However, his evolution has been remarkable, and on Saturday he trained at the same level as his teammates. It wouldn't be such a shock if Suarez got his share of minutes against Costa Rica, should the match turn complicated.
- Report: Suarez unlikely to start vs. Costa Rica
Instead, Forlan and Cavani will be in charge of the goal scoring. As two of Tabarez's most reliable men, the strikers won't want the crowd to think the team can't win if Suarez is not around. Forlan's precise set pieces and Cavani's pure power in front of the goal seem enough to break Costa Rica's defensive line. The question is: Will they beat goalkeeper Keylor Navas as well?
As many predicted -- and many others failed to believe -- Stuani will start on the right side. Nowadays, everyone is convinced he will play the same role Cavani did in 2010. This means he will be a right offensive midfielder constantly going back and forth to enforce the defensive movements but, more so, acting as a third striker when the team moves forward. You might remember Cavani's long run through the right flank versus Mexico in South Africa, when he assisted Suarez for the only goal of the match.
The presence of Stuani sets up an absolutely different team than if Gaston Ramirez were taking his place. Stuani will have a huge responsibility in creating chances, opening the field and supporting the right back, given the likes of Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell attacking through the entire attack front. It will be Stuani's debut at a major competition, as he was not part of the squads that played at the Copa America and the Confederations Cup.
Uruguay begins their adventure in the world's most important tournament. With the surprising performances we've seen so far at the World Cup, the match result is truly uncertain. However, everyone in Uruguay is fully behind La Celeste, and the lucky ones who will watch it from the stands will support the players with the famous chant: "Soy Celeste, soy Celeste, Celeste soy yo".