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Uruguay have case for local support at World Cup

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Tim Vickery | 08:48 UK time, Monday, 7 June 2010

Once the World Cup hosts have got the action under way in South Africa on Friday afternoon the drone of the vuvuzelas might die down and the sound of drums should come through as the second game kicks off in Cape Town. They might sound straight out of Africa but the drums will be pounding for Uruguay, telling a tale that stretches across oceans, religions and races.

It is entirely fitting that Uruguay grabbed the last place in the 2010 tournament - and not only because they were the first champions. Africa's World Cup is surely strengthened by the presence of the country that did most to pioneer the selection of people of African descent.

One of them, Isabelino Gradin, was top scorer in the first Copa America in 1916. Three years later he played in the third version of the tournament in Brazil, where his presence had a huge motivational effect on his forbears from Africa, If ever a player deserves a statue for his influence on the development of the global game, it is Gradin.

His presence in the sky blue shirt of Uruguay was not a coincidence. It was the product of enlightened social policies in the country at the start of the 20th century, where Uruguay attempted to replace the feudal hierarchies so common in South America with a prototype welfare state.

Football came to the continent brought by the British and full of first world prestige. In Brazil the game endured a difficult journey as it spread down from well-heeled students to the sons of slaves. The aristocrats fought hard to keep it to themselves. Policies of social inclusion meant that this process took place quicker in Uruguay. The country had - and still has - a small population but it was soon able to call on talent from all backgrounds, which helps explain why Uruguay were so good so early.

The drums of candombe - the name of the Uruguayan rhythm - pounded out for Gradin and Jose Leandro Andrade, the hero of the triumphs of the 1920s, and for Obdulio Varela, the great captain of the 1950 side - nowadays they pound out for left wing-back Alvaro Pereira. But they don't just pound out for him. They do so for the whole team. Candombe has clear African roots but today's drummers are just as likely to be descendants of Spanish or Italian immigrants. The rhythm is part of Uruguay's cultural heritage.

Many of the South African population seem to have adopted Brazil as their second team. Perhaps they should also follow Uruguay - though not, of course, on 16 June when the Sky Blues are up against the Bafana Bafana and the vuvuzelas will drown out the candombe drums.

uruguayfans595335ap.jpgSouth African fans back Uruguay in a warm-up game. Photo: AP.

Uruguay are the first South American team in action in the World Cup. Chile are the last, which is probably just as well - there is more time for centre forward Humberto Suazo to recover from his hamstring injury.

I wonder if the problem Suazo has picked up was avoidable. If so, it means that coach Marcelo Bielsa has made a mistake with his physical preparation - as almost certainly happened eight years ago.

Bielsa is a self-confessed attack obsessive. He wants his team to play in the opponent's half, exerting constant pressure. It is high-tempo, high-pressure football, which requires a high level of fitness.

Back in 2002, when Bielsa was in charge of his native Argentina, the players were too drained at the end of the European season to carry out their coach's attacking ambitions.

In the build-up to the World Cup some of them complained to the Argentine media that they were being worked too hard in training. Their complaints looked justified when, in the warm-up before the opening match defensive linchpin Roberto Ayala pulled up with a tear and played no part in the competition - an important factor in their first round elimination.

This time, Suazo was carrying a knock when he joined up with the Chile squad last month. Giving a chance for fans in the provinces to wave off the side, Chile played a number of warm-up friendlies up and down the country. Suazo stayed out - until the last one against Israel, when he played, scored and then came off at half-time with the hamstring problem that may well force him out of Chile's first two World Cup ties.

Everything is easy in hindsight, but fielding Suazo against the Israelis looks like a mistake - Diego Maradona, for example, resisted the temptation to play Lionel Messi in Argentina's farewell game against Canada, even though the Buenos Aires crowd were calling for him. Messi had taken a knock in training and Maradona decided that the risk of playing him was not worth taking.

Bielsa perhaps wishes he had done the same. Suazo was South America's top scorer in qualifying and Chile have no clear replacement for him in their squad. As former great goalscorer Marcelo Salas put it: "We're going to miss him a lot because in the system Chile play, the centre forward is either Suazo or it's Suazo."

Comments on the piece in the space below. Other questions on South American football to vickerycolumn@hotmail.com, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.

A quick note of apology but I've got so much on at the moment that I don't have time to get back individually to all the questions, so I'm very sorry if you haven't had a reply. However, please keep sending them in - they all get read and considered and they all help in formulating themes for future columns.

From last week's postbag:

Q) Does the economic necessity of exporting the next/new Messi or Kaka lead to young players in South America being hyped too early?
Stuart Bird

A) No doubt about it. The seller has a clear vested interest in hyping his product - remember when Birmingham were talked into believing that Luciano Figueroa was the new Batistuta? Also, with so many top players abroad it can be dangerously easy to build up huge reputations in the contemporary domestic game. It is easy to get caught up in the hype as well - a crime I have been guilty of along the way. I remember the rise of Robinho. One pundit, a player with World Cup experience, said that he was going to be better than Maradona! For all his talent, I think that is taking it way too far and makes it hard for the player to cope when he moves to Europe and finds out that he is not quite as outstanding as he had been led to believe.

I read an excellent article recently on Diego Milito by Juan Pablo Varsky, a very good Argentine journalist, making the point that this is a story of someone who benefited from being a late developer - as a kid nobody was telling Milito that he was some kind of phenomenon and he has grown into a far better player at 30 than he was at 20.

Q) I am living in Brazil at the moment and loving the build-up to the World Cup. One thing has surprised me though - like so many others I am taking part in a World Cup tipping competition but to my surprise not one of my friends or (girlfriend's) relatives here have picked Brazil to win it. One friend even has them bowing out in the group stage! I was wondering if this kind of pessimism is normal before a big competition or do Brazilians genuinely not fancy their team's chances in South Africa? If so, why?
Brendan Clark

A) Four years ago they all thought that Brazil had won the competition before it started and only had to turn up to collect the trophy. So they got burned that time. And this time there are plenty in the media who might have a quiet smirk at Dunga's failure - he has made plenty of enemies in the press. Throw in the fact that this side has been constructed on a team-over-stars basis, without the usual hubbub over big names, and it is understandable that this build-up is a bit low key - but nothing that a convincing victory cannot put right.

Comments

Page 1 of 4

  • Comment number 1.

    interesting article.. and a real credit to uruguay.. the country, in latin america, along with argentina has the most european, "white" population to have a black player in their national team so early..

  • Comment number 2.

    Excellent article; now I have an idea of why Uraguay was so great so early.

    Another question though: why were they not able to keep this up? Infrastructure? Population? Lack of ambition? Economics? Players?

    They really should be regarded as a football giant, but they are not. When I see their team, although talented, it does not strike me as one with any strength in depth, and one too reliant on attacking players (although, admittedly, this seems like a trait the whole continent shares).

  • Comment number 3.

    Excellent article as always Tim.

    Very interesting read. (Would be good if the same could be said about all blogs on here).

    Looking forward to a good showing from all of the South American contingent. Hopefully Uruguay and Chile in particular can keep/get their key players fit and show some of the form that they are capable of.

  • Comment number 4.

    Will be very interesting to see if Chile, in particular, can translate their superb form in qualifying to the WC finals tournament.

    I wonder how many of the "other (not just brazil and argentina)" latin american countries can make the knockout stages ?
    Hopefullt quite a few !

  • Comment number 5.

    Such a shame that the crippling economy has all but detroyed Uruguan football. Not only does Uruguay have a rich history with their national team but a rich history on a club level. Penerol ruled South American football on par with Real Madrid in Europe. Both Penerol and National have won the Copa Libatadores on numerous occasions as well as the Club World Cup.
    Hoefully one day this small nation of 3 million people will get the economy back on track and with it their football.

  • Comment number 6.

    "The seller has a clear vested interest in hyping his product - remember when Birmingham were talked into believing that Luciano Figueroa was the new Batistuta?"
    I think it might've helped if Bruce had given him more than three minutes (no exaggeration) of first team football in which to prove himself. I don't think this is a very good example!

  • Comment number 7.

    I really enjoyed this piece Tim, it is an even higher level that your usual excellent standard. I for one would instantly buy a book if you ever decided to write one into the history/origins of South American football. You have a unique style based on a great knowledge of the region in addition to ability to write in an engrossing way for an English audience. If others agree with me post below so we can bully Tim into writing it ;)

    I do have a personal interest in football challenging or being an outlet in times of political/social difficulty which might be why this piece appealed to me so much. FC Barcelona's role for the people during fascism and the origins of Spartak Moscow are examples of other interesting histories on the same topic.

    http://engfootyabroad.com/ - English Footballers Abroad

  • Comment number 8.

    great article love the ones that are educational as well as factual (unlike some i could mention).
    assuming chile will be as good in the WC as they were qualifying, and brazil/argentina play anywhere near their potential argies in particular (best squad by miles imo)plus the presence of honduras i have noticed a nice little bet that the bookies have overlooked slightly.
    they have south america @2-1 to win the tourney looks a very good bet to me may have a little flutter.
    having said that COME ON ENGLAND!!!

  • Comment number 9.

    I always thought it was a shame that Uruguay didn't win in 1970 (3 of the 4 semi-finalists were vying to win the cup for the third time and keep the trophy). A population of 3 million were never going to keep up that pace as football went global, and it would have been nice to have a proper memento. Still, we'll always have the Maracanazo...

    Manutdrooney10 & Devil: I don't think the economy has much to do with it - Uruguay has got one of the most stable economies in the region. Personally I think it is maths (too few people) and increased competition that has done for them. 30 years ago their competitors in Chile, Peru, Paraguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela were just in a different category - now they all take points off us. Though I would maintain we are still a notch above them all in class, and still bring through great players - we just don't perform consistently.

    I know it is a bit of a spurious stat, but if you divide the populations of countries by the number of world cups won:

    Brazil have won a world cup for every 38 million people
    Argentina one for every 20 million
    Italy one for every 15 million
    England one for every 49 million
    Uruguay one for every 1.5 million






  • Comment number 10.

    At 2. and 5. Uruguay have always been a force in world football and a difficult team to play, they may not win World Cups any more but Holland have never won the World Cup for example- the Netherlands also has a small population but produces great players.

    Uruguay still produces world class players, which for a country of its size is admirable. This past decade, Uruguay has had Paolo Montero, Alvaro Recoba and Diego Forlan ; In the 1990s surely you remember Ruben Sosa and Daniel Fonseca and in the 1980s Enzo Francescoli.

    It's a bit strange to remark 'they should be a footballing giant; but they're not'. Maybe an outsider could say that about England? and we have fewer excuses, a much smaller population than Uruguay.

    Uruguay won their two World Cups when only a handful of nations took part and they were one of the leading teams in South America (the game developed quicker there and other reasons explained in Tim's blog). England didn't take part in the tournament until 1950, as we were too arrogant to consider competing against some foreigners at some silly tournament played in a neutral country.

  • Comment number 11.

    *typo: meant to write ' much bigger population than uruguay', wish we had an edit function on blog posts.

  • Comment number 12.

    @ ManUnitedRooney10 - I think it's quite clear that a population of 3million is a massive disadvantage in world football. That's half the size of Scotland. Rule out the women, elderly, children etc and you don't have much of a pot to pick from, irrespective of any political problems or economic factors.

    http://sportales.com/soccer/kopstuff-6610-hunt-for-reds-boss-heats-up-mascherano-and-torres-to-leave/

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 15.

    Another great article, Tim. It is fascinating and humbling how Uruguayan society was so socially inclusive so (relatively) early. I sincerely hope they do well in South Africa (to the extent that I've bet on them and Mexico to qualify from Group A*).

    Many thanks for your series of articles in the run up to this World Cup, Tim. They've really increased my knowledge and awareness of the South American game, and made me look forward even more to the tournament. Roll on Thursday!

    *I've doubled this with Spain and Chile to qualify from their group, but with Suazo injured I hope that doesn't backfire.

  • Comment number 16.

    Great blog Tim. I have adopted Uruguay as my second team at this tournament, maybe because of my obsession with them in Football Manager. They have three very talented goalscorers in Forlan, the very impessive Suarez and Cavani.

    Just wondering though, Christian Rodriguez has not been picked. Just checking whether or not this is becasue of injury or a drop in form etc.

    Chile as well I am excited about. Sanchez has bundles of potential and I see him as a rising star over the next few years. He has competetion at club level in Pepe, but I think that Sanchez will go far. I fancy Chile to go through the group with Spain, just edgeing out the Swiss. That game will be a close one, especially as the swiss are a very organised team with a lot of power up front but it is refreshing to see a team play such aggressive football.

  • Comment number 17.

    Great article, and I'm not debating you but I feel I should point out that Jose Leandro Andrade was the first superstar of football, especially during the Olympics ('24 & '28) --- Not enough has been written on him outside of Uruguay, but even FIFA recognized him as one of the 100 most important players of all time a few years back. The tragedy about Andrade was that while he revolutionized the fullback/defensive position (and maybe you know more about this than I do)he was an afterthought on the 1930 World Cup winning squad and died tragically of sirocis of the liver... but going back to your story he was also a first rate Candombe drummer and took part in many Uruguayan carnivals.

  • Comment number 18.

    A well-timed and informative blog. The history of Uruguayan football and Gradin's story is marvellous but, while it's easy to suggest that with a half decent side and the Candombe booming out it's about time Uruguay impressed - I don't think they will.

    I think Tim knows this too, and while a blog on Uruguay is due, he really couldn't help but to delve into his little tip for a World Cup surprise package - Chile.

    My money is on Paraguay advancing further than both of them.

  • Comment number 19.

    @18

    I hope so Dr as Paraguay are my "sweepstake" team!

    Come on Cardozo!

  • Comment number 20.

    #12
    3.5 million in Uruguay is not half the population of Scotland, which has a population of 5.1 million.

    Being Scottish and based on our last game with them in which the conduct of their players was so shockingly bad that FIFA considered booting them out of the WC, I don't really wish them well at all. Talented players yes but so rarely an entertaining side, whose players have often tended to resort to fouling their way through matches.

  • Comment number 21.

    I don't know the history of Uruguay so this is no reflection on them in any way.

    However the "Policies of social inclusion" in South Africa have too often taken the form of enforced quotas based on race, especially in the sporting arena. This in turn has actually lead to a deepening of the social divide in many cases so you might be well misguided if you think this will form a reason for South Africans to follow them.

  • Comment number 22.

    @Rob04

    When was the last game Scotland had with the Uruguayans? How many Uruguay vs Scotland games have you seen? Should you reduce their entire football history for what you have seen in one or two matches?

    As for being violent, Ive seen so many british boasting about their game being more physical and harder, that it always surprise me when the same british complain about the violence of south american football.


    Anyway, congrats to Uruguay. Its just amazing everything they accomplished with such a small population. The southernmost brazilian state, which borders Uruguay and shares many cultural characteristics, has a larger population in the metropolitan area of its capital, Porto Alegre (4 million people)!! That a country with a population smaller than the metro area of Porto Alegre can produce such tallent and win two World Cups is nothing short of amazing!

  • Comment number 23.

    #22
    1986 WC.

    I've watched Uruguay in various competetions before that and since, so my opinion is based on my observation. Hardly one or two matches but don't let that stop your tantrum!

  • Comment number 24.

    Fantastic Article .. That was 15 minutes very well spent.

    Thank You!

  • Comment number 25.

    Wow.. Very well done. Learnt something new from it!!! In fact now you have me reading up on those seemingly fantastic players and more about Uruguay and its footballing pedigree. Thanks mate..excellent piece.

  • Comment number 26.

    Enjoyable reading Tim.

    There has always been an air of mystery for me surrounding Uruguay. In my late teens I read about the 1930 and 1950 teams and a little on Schiaffino. As a young teenager I loved watching Francescoli.

    They catch France at the perfect time and I really hope they win that game and progress as I'd love to see Argentina v Uruguay in the 2nd round (results permitting of course).

    Interested to know Tim if you think Alexis Sanchez will star for Chile and likewise Lucas Barrios for Paraguay?

  • Comment number 27.

    Uraguay do have a great, if early, tradition in football and WC success. But think the inclusion of a player of african origin is a bit specious. Or should we dissect the success of Bishops Auckland and how a high ratio of people from the NE allowed them to pick up a WC? Or the failings of the sub continent in cricket and England's inclusion of Indian players as early as the 19th Century?

    Wrt WC it was more to do with weak competition in the early tournaments. I thought there was an accusation of wrong doing in one tournament as well.

    But it is interesting to hear of the liberated views of the Uraguay FA even that early in a continent where slavery had not long been abolished etc.

  • Comment number 28.

    27 - I'm not aware of any shadows over Uruguay's 2 World cup wins - and I think we can throw out stories of weak opposition - they beat a good Argentina team in the 1930 final, and, in Rio's Maracana, overcame one of the all time great Brazilian sides, which had smashed its other rivals, to win in 1950.

  • Comment number 29.

    However the "Policies of social inclusion" in South Africa have too often taken the form of enforced quotas based on race, especially in the sporting arena. This in turn has actually lead to a deepening of the social divide in many cases so you might be well misguided if you think this will form a reason for South Africans to follow them.
    ========================================================================

    Such quotas are necessary to ensure that social exclusion has been eradicated, or that it is reduced as much as possible. I know some of the England cricket players originally from South Africa have complained that the reason they had to leave SA was because the quota system was hindering their chances of making the SA cricket team. However, if you look at the SA cricket team, there's actually only two "non white" players in Duminy, who is mixed race, and Tsotsobe. Therefore, I sometimes feel that the arguments against affirmative action are misguided. Sure, you can argue that Pietersen and Kieswetter were talking about their situation at their regional clubs, but even so, you would expect if they were so talented that any quota wouldn't prevent them from making their club side.

    Yes, affirmative action can go too far, as can any policy. However, a lot of the time the argument that we must ensure that we live by meritocratic standards, and that the best/most talented receive the best rewards ignores the problem of the prevailing socioeconomic attitudes amongst some classes or groups, who may feel that their is a ceiling above which they cannot go. To ensure that this is not the case, some affirmative action is necessary so that these groups now realise that it is different, and that they are able to achieve their goals and aspirations without any fear of discrimination or bigotry.

    This is why Harriet Harman's proposal for 50% women in the shadow cabinet is not as silly as some are making out. Women are equally as capable as men, and if the Labour party introduce this form of affirmative action, it will encourage and show women that they can reach senior positions in politics, and can influence the direction of the country. The same arguments hold in football as well.

    It is also very interesting to note that, at the time when Uruguay had these very enlightened social policies, a prototype welfare state was tried. This highlights the benefits of having a social democratic social and economic policy, because the social safety nets provided by such a policy gives encouragement to the working class and ethnic minorities that the government is on their side, and they are able to achieve what they want, safe in the knowledge that if they are unsuccessful in achieving their goals, the state will provide economic and social protection, and will be able to afford a good standard of life while they change their career or direction in life. This is absolutely necessary in having a society without social exclusion and a strong participatory democracy, where everyone has the means and ability to achieve their goals, and are not left to the mercy of market forces and faced with the prospect of either swimming or sinking.

  • Comment number 30.

    @27

    It´s Uruguay, not "Uraguay".

    Uruguay won the gold medals in the Olympic Games of 1924 and 1928, in France and Holland respectively (considered the world cups at that time) but the succes of the uruguayan football continued until the 80´s, with many triumphs in Copa America and Copa Libertadores.

  • Comment number 31.

    I'm looking forward to seeing Uruguay in action. Two very talented forwards in Suarez and Forlan and I've heard lots of good things about Lodeiro. If they all click then I'm sure Uruguay won't be noted for violent tactics this summer.

    http://www.worldfootballcolumns.com/

  • Comment number 32.

    I think France will struggle to beat Uruguay; I live in France and am conscious of the great unease there is here about the quality and direction - or, in the latter case lack of - of the squad. I half expect a stuttering draw but the group should be an easy one, even for Domenech, and they will do enough to proceed. That will at the expense certainly of the host nation and probably, at a guess, Mexico

    But someone above mentioned Paraguay. I have to say that as a Sunderland fan, the absence of Darren Bent from the England squad, and the presence of two of our players - Riveros and da Silva - in a team that plays in red and white stripes, has some of us, and not just http://salutsunderland.com - supporting Paraguay ...

  • Comment number 33.

    @31

    I think Lodeiro is a bit overrated and he won´t be in the starting eleven.
    Take a look at Nacho Gonzalez, first.

  • Comment number 34.

    #29
    This is why Harriet Harman's proposal for 50% women in the shadow cabinet is not as silly as some are making out. Women are equally as capable as men, and if the Labour party introduce this form of affirmative action, it will encourage and show women that they can reach senior positions in politics, and can influence the direction of the country. The same arguments hold in football as well.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Fine arguement but does it hold in football as you claim, amd how would you apply it?

  • Comment number 35.

    I think Lodeiro is a bit overrated and he won´t be in the starting eleven.
    Take a look at Nacho Gonzalez, first.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The same Nacho Gonzalez that came to Toon on loan and never played?

    The great thing about the beautiful game is that it is all very subjective!

  • Comment number 36.

    Fine arguement but does it hold in football as you claim, amd how would you apply it?
    ========================================================================

    That's a very fair question and it isn't something that can done simply. However, in this country I don't think, with respect to football and other sports, we need such a policy at all because we do hold socially liberal attitudes. My response was wrt South Africa, and I felt it was necessary to have such affirmative action because of the scars in the aftermath of apartheid. Therefore, I think they needed a diverse selection in some of their sports teams, to attempt to bring people together.
    In general, I think obviously you can't have a policy of quotas in the national team. More reasonable is a policy to ensure you get a certain proportion of individuals of ethnic minorities in club teams and possibly national academies. Once they are in, and are shown that it is possible to get in, it will be likely that at least some will make it to the highest level. Of course, this policy doesn't mean that you will put any number of people of minority groups into the clubs/academies, regardless of ability. This is one of the arguments used against quotas, but it doesn't have to be that way. Nor does this positive action have to necessary result in discrimination against the dominant group in society or result in a lowering of standards. The issue is that these groups are actually not being encouraged to participate, and that in fact can be lowering standards because the clubs are not or are unable to pick from the widest possible pool.

  • Comment number 37.

    Interesting, as ever, Tim.

    How was football brought to South America "by the British", as you say?
    I'm not doubting you, but it seems curious, given the historical/linguistic trends of South America as compared to USA/Canada.

  • Comment number 38.

    After England, Uruguay will be my second team.

    Why? Cos I'm a Brighton fan, and our manager is the wonderful Uruguayan, Mr. Gus Poyet...!!

  • Comment number 39.

    The first World Cup I can really remember was Mexico 86. I'd grown up reading about Uruguay and how they had punched above their weight for decades. I'd also read about Penarol and Nacional and how they were giants of South American football. I was so excited about seeing Francescoli in action too.

    So you can imagine my disappointment at their performances in Mexico, which were marred by ill discipline. I continued to follow Francescoli's career closely though and he remains one of the best number 10s I've seen when he was at his best. I remember him inspiring Uruguay to victory in the 1995 Copa America - the first time the tournament was shown live in the UK.

    Tim - do you have an explanation as to why he didn't make it with a really big club in Europe? Surely it wasn't due to a lack of talent? He had it in droves.

    I still have a soft spot for them and I hope they win Group A. I won't be holding my breath unduly though.

    http://twoyellowcards.co.uk/

  • Comment number 40.

    37 - some areas of south america were an informal part of the british empire, with lots of trading connections. 3 key groups of british football pioneers in south america - railway workers, sailors and teachers.

  • Comment number 41.

    39 - the fact that francescoli was the idol of a certain zinedine zidane tealls you something about his importance to marseilles

  • Comment number 42.

    The first son of Zidane is called Enzo for Francescoli

  • Comment number 43.

    @37

    Peñarol was first known as CURCC (Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club).
    The first players were british workers from the railway indstry and its coulours are the ones of George Stephenson´s Locomotive.

  • Comment number 44.

    I am the only person who thinks Suazo is a bit overrated?

    He did finish top scorer in South American qualifying but you need to take into account how many scoring opportunities were created for him (and how many he didn’t take). With Chile’s attacking style of play they will always create goalscoring chances and he is the focal point of the forward line, so most of these chances fall to him.

    Maybe I being too critical, but I don’t consider him to be up there with the very best forwards in South America such as Luis Fabiano, Forlan, Aguero or Cabanas.

    Hopefully he will prove me wrong.

  • Comment number 45.

    Nice story, I lived in Uruguay in 2004 and it's a great place. They love the EPL and Mancher United have a massive support base there, walking around montevideo you see United shirts everywhere. Almost like being back in the UK. However after England my second team would have to be New Zealand, they are our anglo-saxon cousins, always stood by us through the wars, most Kiwi's will cheer on England as well as the All Whites and what a success for this small football nation to even reach South Africa.
    Go England, Go the All Whites.

  • Comment number 46.

    @44
    Yes, Suazo is a bit unorthodox, but he did finish leading goalscorer in the qualifiers and no matter how many chances his team creates, he still has to put them away and he managed to do that more often than any other striker in South America, including Luis Fabiano, Forlan, etc.

    That said, he's no Marcelo Salas, if he were, he would've scored 50 goals in the qualifiers. Yes, he does miss a lot of chances so he's more Crespo than Batistuta.

    He's done well to get this far and hopefully will recover from his injury quickly enough to help Chile make an impact in the WC. Chile does not have enough depth in their squad so they cannot afford to have a player like him off the team for too long.

  • Comment number 47.

    great read as usual tim, thx

    i can understand the reliance on suazo's goal scoring ability for chile, but i also wonder how effective he will be if he comes in for the last match against espana. surely by then, i reckon chile's fate would already have been decided. i think it would be unwise of bielsa to change formation now that his star player is missing early on. that may impact chile's confidence. even without suazo, i think they have some players upfront who can put the ball in the back of the net like sanchez

    uruguai is in a tough group. no one will notice their exit if they go out early. france is out of sort, this is the best time for a forlan-suarez 1-2 punch on them. mexico is going to be a bit tricky they are gonig in with confidence of just having played some top sides. but i can assure you, if uruguai beat hosts south africa in the group stage their surely will not be any love for the charruas from the host nation haha

  • Comment number 48.

    @22 "...As for being violent, Ive seen so many british boasting about their game being more physical and harder, that it always surprise me when the same british complain about the violence of south american football..."

    That's because when the British do it is called "manly tough tackling" whereas the South American way is called "dirty, violent fouls"... after all, players like Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, just to name a couple from the EPL, would never think of performing such evil acts on a football field, would they?

    Problem with Uruguay's reputation is that because they have only played 45 minutes of decent football in the past 40 years of the WC (when they were 0-3 down to Senegal back in 2002), the only thing we remember is their ill discipline.

    Of Paraguay we don't even remember that because they are so concerned with not losing (just like Uruguay) that they are usually awful in the WC. Hopefully things will change this time around.

  • Comment number 49.

    Hi Tim, great piece as ever. I am a journalist based in Kimberley for the World Cup and let me tell you the support for Uruguay here is astonishing. They don't care that they would play against the bafana bafanas y I think they don't know much about Uruguay's history in the game. They are just thrilled to have the team as their province is the only one in South Africa without World Cup matches. Best.

  • Comment number 50.

    29. At 7:19pm on 07 Jun 2010, PasstheParcel wrote:

    However the "Policies of social inclusion" in South Africa have too often taken the form of enforced quotas based on race, especially in the sporting arena. This in turn has actually lead to a deepening of the social divide in many cases so you might be well misguided if you think this will form a reason for South Africans to follow them.
    ========================================================================

    Such quotas are necessary to ensure that social exclusion has been eradicated, or that it is reduced as much as possible. I know some of the England cricket players originally from South Africa have complained that the reason they had to leave SA was because the quota system was hindering their chances of making the SA cricket team. However, if you look at the SA cricket team, there's actually only two "non white" players in Duminy, who is mixed race, and Tsotsobe. Therefore, I sometimes feel that the arguments against affirmative action are misguided. Sure, you can argue that Pietersen and Kieswetter were talking about their situation at their regional clubs, but even so, you would expect if they were so talented that any quota wouldn't prevent them from making their club side.

    ========================================================================

    .....and the South African football team only has one or two white players in. Why? Cricket is traditionally played by whites is SA and football by blacks. The problem being that once you start putting in quotas and ignoring the concept of picking the best players, you get to a position where x is just in the team because his face fits. After all this would be breed resentment within a team.

    I can well imagine that that being in a situation where you have not been picked on the basis of ability would lead to a massive crisis of confidence.

    If one wanted to put a quota on players represented by a national team being reflective of the makeup of a nations' demographics - you could well start with France and the underrepresentation of whites in the squad.

    For me, however, I prefer not to look at the colour of the players in the side, rather than engaging in positive discrimination.

  • Comment number 51.

    One of the best blogs I've read in a while Tim with lots of very informative and wide-ranging return comments & replies..cheers!

    Uruguay often appear the 'forgotten ones' to coin an often used South-American term without wishing to offend anyone. They certainly have a fine pedigree although I don't see their fine example of early racial intergration swinging too many neutrals in the modern age.

    Regarding their 1930 win - they played the first half of that match using the Argentinians ball and were losing at the break, but won the match using their own ball in the second half. I wonder what would happen today if teams could choose balls suited to their own particular demand or style - many hate the new Jubilani. It may suit Brazils' beach style footie, but will Crouchie be able to get a head on it ;)

  • Comment number 52.

    Good article I have been around several shops in Aberdeen and couldn't get a Uruguay shirt I could get practically any other World Cup shirt, so much for World cup promotions and advertising by retailers as a result i have had to order it on line

    Why not England... well as someone who has Scottish Irish Welsh and English great grandparents I have no 'Scottish' anti English sentiment (being as I was born there) (apart from having to listen to the partisan and annoying John Motson)

    It is just that I have been drawn to Uruguay and have followed their progress through successive World cup's ever since the 1970's I suppose after having read about the infamous Celtic Racing Club 'Battle of the River Plate' World Club Match in 1967.

    So A lot of Scots footie fans will wear Brazil shirts some will choose Germany, Spain or Italy shirts but at any World Cup venue or party I attend I will be routing for as I have ordered and will be wearing a Uruguay shirt

    Come on 'La Celeste'

  • Comment number 53.

    That's because when the British do it is called "manly tough tackling" whereas the South American way is called "dirty, violent fouls"... after all, players like Roy Keane, Paul Scholes, just to name a couple from the EPL, would never think of performing such evil acts on a football field, would they?
    --------------------------------------------------------

    Except Roy Keane isn't British

  • Comment number 54.

    The reputation of certain South American teams and players being 'dirty' is probably a legacy of the World Club Championship games from the 1960s when European teams were subjected to intimidation by the S.American sides, spitting and punching off the ball.

    Having said that, I don't really think British people refer to South Americans being dirty footballers, most people associate them with skill and flair. Uruguayan and Argentinian defenders might have a certain reputation. The names Antonio Rattin and Paolo Montero spring to mind.

    Also I would add that Roy Keane does not have a squeaky clean reputation, and despite being a great player his aggression on the field is regularly referenced. Scholes is not a dirty player, he is a midfielder who can't tackle, he simply makes late challenges. His qualities are his vision, passing, heading and shooting - he was originally a striker and was converted to central midfield.

  • Comment number 55.

    Almost every world cup throws up a surprise package at the semi finals stage ... remember Croatia, Sweden, Bulgaria. In 2006 I tipped Ukraine (so my record is not that great) but I think Uruguay or Chile maybe surprise package this time. Certainly hope Uruguay stuff the French! I would love to see Uruguay do well ... I went to see two of their qualifying games at the Stadio Centenario and really enjoyed the atmosphere so they are my second team. Forlan will worry any defence in the tournament. Great blog Tim. Enjoyed this one!

  • Comment number 56.

    Once again an excellent piece from Tim. I too did not know why Uruguay were so good in the 30s and 50s, but now i do.

    I would like to see one of the other South American sides (ie, not just Brazil and/or Argentina) do well at a World Cup, i can't remember the last time one did (does Paraguay's last minute defeat to Laurent Blanc count?). I agree with a previous poster who said that the semis often throw up a surprise participant, however if this is to happen this year i see it being a European nations, quite possibly Serbia.

    Good luck to Uruguay, Paraguay and Chile though.

  • Comment number 57.

    41 - Tim, didn't he only spend one season there though before moving to Cagliari? A step down, surely? What happened?

    http://twoyellowcards.co.uk/

  • Comment number 58.

    A very interesting and authoritative article. In relation to the Afro-Uruguayan rythm (candombe), this is one of the direct ancestors of tango. Tango is a fusion musical genre created with elements of candombe, plus the traditional folk music of the Rio de la Plata (of Spanish origin) and the input of the European emmigrants in the late 19 century. For this and other reasons, the origen of tango can be found as much in Uruguay as in Argentina –or more precisely, the region of the Rio de la Plata

  • Comment number 59.

    #20 & #23 Rob04 - The last meeting between Uruguay and Scotland in a world cup was in 1986, in a game where Jorge Batista was sent off after only 56 seconds. While the Uruguayans were certainly no choir boys, the conduct of the Scottish players wasn't exaclty squeaky clean either. Gordon Strachan rolled around as if he had been shot, but seemed to recover quite well after seeing the red card come out. Instead of playing football, the Scottish players spent most of the time whining at the referee.

    Instead of worrying about Uruguay's conduct, I'd be a bit more concerned (as well as ashamed) with the fact that Scotland couldn't beat a 10 man side that had just come off a 6-1 loss to Denmark.

    Perhaps one day Scotland will make the 2nd round of a world cup.

  • Comment number 60.

    @20 "Talented players yes but so rarely an entertaining side, whose players have often tended to resort to fouling their way through matches"

    Uruguay has a lot of potential but their "we only have 3 million people" line seems to work against them. That underdog mentality seems to have ingrained itself in their players with the result that they adopt a defensive, negative strategy which nobody likes.

    Players like Francescoli, Recoba, Sosa, just to name a few have been frustrated by try-not-to-lose-at-any-cost world cup coaching strategies which have not only backfired but have gained Uruguay no friends.

    Let's hope this time around things change and they add some football to the traditional "Garra Charrua".

  • Comment number 61.

    @59 ..."Instead of worrying about Uruguay's conduct, I'd be a bit more concerned (as well as ashamed) with the fact that Scotland couldn't beat a 10 man side that had just come off a 6-1 loss to Denmark."


    -------------------------------------

    Hmmm... let's see...

    Uruguay were the defending South American Champions back in 1986 and they went on to defend that title in 1987. They have been historically better than Scotland and nobody can take the 2 world cups they've won away from them, no matter when they were played. Scotland have always been minnows of World Cup football so there is no shame in not being able to beat Uruguay.

    Beating a 10 man side is not as easy as it sounds, especially when the team with less players defends in numbers, just ask Barcelona.

    The fact that Uruguay was coming off a 6-1 loss to Denmark is irrelevant. Every game is different, Scotland is certainly no Denmark and Uruguay would've been more than willing to avoid a repeat of that score.

  • Comment number 62.


    Tim has written a fine article. Last evening Uruguay played well against a star-studded France. Energetic Forlan was seen all over the field and had some well measured long tries. A draw was a fair result for both.


    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 63.

    "uruguay have case for local support" oops well it's hard to predict the future!

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  • Comment number 76.

    Yet, the playacting of holding the stomach and stumbling to feet ensued from the Dutch player, and he was assisted to the touchline. Oh, and he had a few choice words for the Uruguayan player in the interim.Bingo

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    I would like to see one of the other South American sides comprar generico sin receta

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  • Comment number 93.

    Last evening Uruguay played well against canada online

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  • Comment number 95.

    I remember when this all came out and how much hype there was for a rather disappointing result.

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  • Comment number 96.

    Uruguay has a long football history. In 1924, Uruguay participated at the Olympics in Paris and won the Golf medal as the first South American nation to compete in Europe. They won again 4 years later at the Olympics in Amsterdam in 1928. In addition Uruguay is one of only 5 nations who won the FIFA World Cup on 2 or more occasions. They won 1930 against Argentina, when they hosted the first ever World Cup. They won again in 1950 when the defeated the favored team of Brazil. Last year at the 2010 World Cup Uruguay played very well, but was defeated by Netherlands in the semi-finals and Germany in the third place play-off. There top star Diego Forlán was named 2010 player of the tournament. And I think it is very interesting that Uruguay is so successful even having one of the smallest populations out of all competitors. I really liked how they played and I guess everybody could see that they love this game that we all love as well. Werbeagentur | Internetagentur

  • Comment number 97.

    Uruguay is currently #7 in the FIFA World Rankings. They have won the World Cup twice in 1930 and 1950 and I believe that they will always be a force to reckon with in each coming stagings of the World Cup finals from hereon especially with the present generation of Uruguayan players which are called by some as the best in their football history.bluefly coupon code | wingstop coupons

  • Comment number 98.

    There has always been an air of mystery for me surrounding Uruguay. In my late teens I read about the 1930 and 1950 teams and a little on Schiaffino and lead to my interests in youth ministry. As a young teenager I loved watching Francescoli.

  • Comment number 99.

    Uruguay may actually get into the World Cup this next coming time. The World Cup has been allowing several new countries in each year, and there is an excellent chance they may allow them to get into it this year as well.

    Just my two cents,

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  • Comment number 100.

    Thanks for this informative article about Uruguay and the World Cup. Skechers Shape Ups

 

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