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Suarez skill complements Uruguay teamwork

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Tim Vickery | 18:43 UK time, Sunday, 13 November 2011

There was a little run and a cracking left-foot shot from outside the area. There were two headers, one classic, the other bundled in after sound reading of the situation. And to complete the set there was a drilled, first-time, right-footed cross shot.

Luis Suarez showed the full range of his astonishing talent last Friday, scoring all the goals in Uruguay's 4-0 World Cup qualifier win over Chile.

It was breathtaking stuff.

My favourite was the first goal, shortly before half-time, which paved the way for a comfortable victory over dangerous opponents.

Firstly, I liked it because it highlighted how a game can be a process. Chile defender Waldo Ponce stood off Suarez, giving him room for the shot. But Suarez had won that space on merit. Previously when Ponce had got loose, Suarez had burned past him.

It was not a risk the defender was prepared to take again, and he was entitled to believe that Suarez was too far out to score with anything but a perfect shot.

It was also an outstanding goal because of its collective context. Three of Uruguay's workmanlike midfielders played their part. Diego Perez snapped in with a typically fierce tackle. Alvaro Gonzalez played a neat first-time ball. And Egidio Arevalo Rios planted forward to Suarez in space.

None of these midfielders are stars. But Uruguay coach Oscar Washington Tabarez knows their value.

Luis Suarez's four goals against Chile took his tally to 26 in 52 appearances for Uruguay. Photo: Getty

After the game he paid tribute to his players.

"They know what we want from them," he said. "They are sufficiently humble to know their limitations, but always give their best with positive thoughts."

That opening goal, with its teamwork rounded off by individual magic, says a great deal about the recent resurgence of Uruguay.

The golden evening enjoyed by Suarez also illustrates one of football's great truths - that the stars shine most brightly when the collective balance of the team is correct.

Lose that collective balance, and even Lionel Messi goes down with the ship, as Argentina showed in a desperately disappointing 1-1 draw at home to Bolivia.

True, the hosts deserved to win. They were very unfortunate to have a goal chalked off, the referee blowing for a foul when he should have played advantage. Another was harshly disallowed. Javier Pastore rattled the post. Bolivia barely threatened - Argentina's defence had to give more evidence of its fallibility to hand them a goal.

It was at the other end, though, that Argentina fell so short of their potential. There was no sense of a coherent collective idea. Messi started off wide on the right, with Pastore wide on the left - miles apart, when they should surely have been closer to each other in order to combine.

With the pair of them plus Ricky Alvarez, there was a surfeit of players wanting the ball to feet. Throw in Argentina's glaring lack of attacking full-backs, and all the play was taking place in front of the Bolivia defence.

Centre forward Gonzalo Higuain offered little with his back to goal, and Argentina's presence in the penalty area was poor. Some of these problems were addressed by substitute Ezequiel Lavezzi, who came on to score an almost instant equaliser.

But instead of surging on to win the game Argentina spluttered, and Messi even seemed to go missing in the closing stages. They gave all the signs of a team who do not really believe in what they are doing.

Called in after the Copa America with little time to prepare a side, coach Alejandro Sabella is having a hard time. It is understandable. He has much, much more experience as an assistant than as coach, and he inherited a squad overloaded with options in some positions, but with the cupboard bare in others.

And that hot seat is about to get hotter. On Tuesday, Argentina travel to take on Colombia in the sweltering Caribbean port of Barranquilla, the kind of place where you work up a sweat sipping a fruit juice in the shade.

Other than Uruguay, Colombia are the only unbeaten side in this campaign - though they came away frustrated from Friday's game after gifting Venezuela a late equaliser. There are promising signs, though, especially in the development of young left-footed midfielder James Rodriguez, who for the second game running gave evidence that he is a special talent.

Colombia are dangerous, but perhaps Argentina might like the fact that this will be a vastly different game from the glorified attack-against-defence in the Bolivia game. With the hosts pushing forward, Messi will certainly hope to find some space.

He may well be pleased that Colombian centre-back Luis Amaranto Perea misses the game through suspension. Perea was badly at fault for Venezuela's goal on Friday, but his sense of covering would be useful against Messi's incisive dribbles.

Possible replacements Arquivaldo Mosquera and Alexis Henriquez are both tall and ponderous. The other centre-back, captain Mario Yepes, is an elegantly talented defender. But he is nearly 36, and if Messi gets a run at him, his tendency to go to ground could be exposed.

Much, then, may well depend on the quality of protection given to the Colombian defence. The two sides met in July in the Copa America, where in its own way one of the highlights of the competition was the duel between Messi and Carlos Sanchez, Colombia's midfield marker.

There was no doubt about the winner. Sanchez doggedly won the day, and Colombia deserved better than a goalless draw.

That was on a freezing night in Santa Fe. But Sanchez will not be there on a boiling afternoon in Barranquilla. Injury has forced him out. Can Messi take advantage and rise to the occasion? He is Argentina's captain, and his team-mates will be looking to him for leadership.
Can he do it without the kind of back-up he gets at Barcelona - or even the unselfish platform given to Suarez by the Uruguayan midfield?

Comments on the piece welcome below. Questions on South American football can be emailed to vickerycolumn@hotmail.com, and I'll pick out a couple for next week.

From last week's postbag;

Q) I would really like your opinion on Nicolas Lodeiro's career so far. At the last World Cup it seemed he was Uruguay's 'wonderkid' and a symbol of the future, and even the silly red card he received in his nation's first game against France didn't seem to change this status much. Before the ill-timed dismissal he did show signs of being a quality young player, but recently I've seen he hasn't been appearing for his club Ajax. How much of this is genuinely down to injury and bad fortune, and how much (if any) is down to the player himself?
Callum Madden

A) It's been an up and down time. In 2009 everything he touched turned to gold - was great at Under-20 level, superb in the Libertadores when he was a vital part of the first Uruguayan club to reach the semi-finals in 20 years, and showed real promise when pitched straight into the senior Uruguay side for the World Cup play-off v Costa Rica.
Then comes the move to Ajax, early lack of opportunity, the red card and then serious injury in the World Cup followed by more injury. There's physical damage, but psychological also. He has to adapt to the truth that things are not always going to go as smoothly as they did in 2009.

I think he's coming out the other side now. He scored for Ajax recently in the Champions League, and is still part of the Uruguay squad, though he has slipped behind Gaston Ramirez (who played in place of the injured Diego Forlan on Friday) in the pecking order.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    Tuesday afternoon in the Metropolitano in Barranquilla is going to fascinating. I think your comment about Messi being given more space to operate than he was in Buenos Aires against Bolivia is key. Colombia are showing much more promise than they were in the Copa America and with Argentina struggling the home fans will want to see Colombia pour forward to make up the lost points against Venezuela.

    Good to see Rafa Robayo called up for a place in the squad. A nice reward for his performances and work rate in the Colombian league over the last year.

    http://www.colombiatravelguide.net/colombian-soccer.html

  • Comment number 2.

    Seeing as I seem to have this blog to myself I thought I'd add something related to domestic Colombian football post-Copa Mundial Sub 20...

    Prior to the Under 20 World Cup in Colombia a lot of the stadiums were renovated and all the fences taken down - not only those separating fans from the pitch but also between terraces. They've also done away with the riot police holding shields over the heads of players taking corner kicks. I've been to a number of games here since then, including "clasicos", and apart from the odd roll of paper there are hardly any missiles being thrown. And not a single fan has entered the field of play despite there being only a thin line of stewards.

    There is still a bit of a way to go - I was in the away end at a match recently and the visiting supporters were bombarded with coins and bottles as they were led out with 10 minutes to go - but it just goes to show what an enormous benefit staging a World Cup (even a youth world cup) can have on a country's football in terms of security, crowd comfort etc and without losing any of the electric atmosphere.

    Do you think removing fencing etc would work in countries like Argentina in the near future when fan violence is more of a problem?

    P.s. Incredible to think that if Venezuela beat Bolivia at home on Tuesday (which isn't an unreasonable assumption) that they'll be sitting joint top with Uruguay!

  • Comment number 3.

    Tim, whats wrong with Chile?, I mean last year they were the best team playing as visitors and now they have about -10 goals.
    was Borghi the problem?
    Do you think Chile will get to the worldcup if they keep playing like this?
    what about the 5 players that coudnt play because of their indiscipline (Valdivia, Beausejour, Vidal, etc), do you think they are REALLY necessary for the Chilean team?
    :)

  • Comment number 4.

    Uruguay have certainly become the team to beat in South America. However, I wouldn't read too much into this win. Let's not forget that Chile made even Argentina look good! with their naive strategy in the first round...so much so that even Messi scored for the national team. And now, it's happened again, against Uruguay.

    Shame about Chile, they've gone from hot to cold in no time and with the likely ban for Valdivia, they won't have a playmaker anymore. Obviously, they're one of those teams that needs a strong, disciplined coach to guide them, otherwise, they will collapse from their own mistakes.

  • Comment number 5.

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

  • Comment number 6.

    I think Suarez would fit in well at City Tim! I don't think I've seen anyone better able to wriggle so much space from a tin of sardines in the box by the goal line, but I agree with a pundit the other week he can be profligate in front of goal, particularly for the bread and butter chances.

    Argentina sound like they have Jesus Gil at the helm. They just continually seem to shoot themselves in the foot. For me it was madness that Bielsa and Pekerman stood down (though am enjoying watching Bielsa's progress with Bilbao). Would they ever return?

    Great to see Venezuela threatening the old order. Was watching a half time clip from their game in Barranquilla against Colombia, with an owl sat on the crossbar, nibbling a rat! The report said it ate it, but if you watch the clip, you see it flies off in the vicinity of the stands with the rodent in its talons. And drops it! So if you're going to the Argentina game, watch out for raining rats!

  • Comment number 7.

    Also, is it a coincidence, Chile's form seems to have gone downhill since Bielsa left?

  • Comment number 8.

    Chile defender Waldo Ponce

    Sounds a bit of a wuss to me.

    Suarez at City, no thanks!

  • Comment number 9.

    Uraguay are continuing their great form since the world cup. Even though Suarez scored all 4 goals, Tim mentioned balance of the team. Suarez will probably also acknowledge his teammates hard graft and workrate. No balance equals no success.

    I can see Argentina struggling for a few more games if they don't find this balance right. Attack heavy, good midfield but unimpressive defence. I do think Messi is an amazing player. Yet Argentina seem to want him to do miracles. Maybe the fact that he is guaranteed his first team place means he sometimes doesn't try as hard in training or in the past as I have mentioned before, that Messi does not have a sense of connection to Argentina and his teammates. Saying that his Argentinian teammates such as Higuin are culprits to argentina's bad form. Relying on one player is never good, no matter how good he is but when your other teammates don't pull up their socks, there will be trouble.

    On another note. Very disappointed in Chile. Does the coach regret sending 5 players home early now after missing their 10pm deadline by 45 minutes. Maybe it's the coach himself that's the problem. Bielsa did miracles, or maybe did Chile punched above their weight in the past few years?

  • Comment number 10.

    6. At 08:08 14th Nov 2011, Drooper_ wrote:
    Argentina sound like they have Jesus Gil at the helm. They just continually seem to shoot themselves in the foot. For me it was madness that Bielsa and Pekerman stood down (though am enjoying watching Bielsa's progress with Bilbao). Would they ever return?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    It's even worse than that, we have Julio Grondona. The FIFA Vice president, running our football association (AFA) for over 3 decades now, has ruined Argentine football from the top all the way down. He picks managers that will listen to his advice (i.e. who is on the next list and who isn't, for reasons that trascend football and go into money, politics, etc.) which does not allow for any clear, serious football project. This isn't just for the senior team, but all the way down to grassroots. The level of the Argentine league has probably never been at its lowest, and it's hard to see a way out with him in charge.

  • Comment number 11.

    Shame Suarez cant do it for Liverpool. A ruthless striker he aint!

  • Comment number 12.

    Tim, how good do you think Suarez is? I cant seem to decide myself. He seems to have it all but at club level he flatters to decieve. Always seems to be MOM but does'nt score prolifically and neither does he get bucket loads of assists. I think its to simplistic to say that its because he doesnt get any service or the Liverpool team is poor, its a strange one. I've backed him to score against teams like Norwich and Swansea but it never seems to materialise. For me he seems more similar to Aguero but lacks his ability to be cut throat in front of goal. Do you think its just a matter of time or something else?

  • Comment number 13.

    Suarez was spectacular on Friday, especially considering his thigh was hurting most of the game. The one I've been finding underwhelming for Uruguay is Cavani, nothing like the amazing player I've seen in Napoli games. Maybe he'll do better against Italy in tomorrow's friendly, given that he knows most of the players he'll be up against. Does anyone know of a place in London where they are likely to be showing the game?

  • Comment number 14.

    Suarez will be a beast next year. The Liverpool team will no doubt be improved again. Gerrard is on the way back with Adam, Henderson is 'starting' to look okay. I expect him to start scoring a lot of goals before the end of the season.

    Great Blog as ever, Tim.

  • Comment number 15.

    Suarez is well and truly placing himself in the shop window for one of the La Liga giants to snap up. He'll improve and shine even more regurlarly playing alonside, and against, the seasoned Spanish pro's of La Liga.

    And the Barclays Premier 'Stepping Stone' League keeps of churning.
    A' Chugga Chugg

  • Comment number 16.

    Nunsandwich (#12),

    Agreed he seems to be a bit hit and miss at liverpool. He was excellent against my team in the league last season but this season while the trickery and skill is still there the goals/assists don't seem to be coming that consistently. I think the BBC had a tactics blogs a bit ago that looked at the PL attackers and his shots on target % was among the worst as was his goals/shots.
    I can't see I've seen a huge amount of him this year so maybe Liverpool fans can offer a view on this. Does he provide more than goals/assists - ie is he creating space for the scorer or making the pass to the person who provides the assist?

  • Comment number 17.

    Bottom line - 'On'*

    Not 'of'

  • Comment number 18.

    Hi Tim, as you mentioned Argentina's defence in your article, I am wondering if you can let me know why Fabricio Coloccini is constantly overlooked to represent his country. I am an NUFC fan and think his performances over the past two years have been nothing short of fantastic and have even improved since becoming our Cpt, surely he would bring Argentina some much needed stability, class and composure. Any ideas??

  • Comment number 19.

    3/7 - defence wasn't really the strong point of Chile under Bielsa either - though under him they defended higher up the field, with greater intensity. Dropping the defensive line deeper does create more space for Chile to go on the counter, but it also exposes errors of the keeper and defenders.

    Borghi? The side he picked away to Argentina was suicide - I think there might be an ego problem with Bielsa there - he was trying to show he could be even bolder than Bielsa. It was madness.

    But that attacking brilliance is still there - and Alexis Sanchez has yet to play in the campaign (should return tomorrow). The 4-2 home win over Peru was a feast for the eyes. The Uruguay game could have turned out differently - Muslera made a crucial save from Vargas at 0-0, and they lost a goal to a hair's breadth offside at 2-0.

    Pressure on the Paraguay game, though - a good win needed to restore moral.

    Cutting the 5 players - the issue doesn't seem to be just the time they came back, but the state in which they returned. if they really had over-indulged in alcohol (the players deny it) then the coach had little alternative.

  • Comment number 20.

    And the Barclays Premier 'Stepping Stone' League keeps of churning.
    A' Chugga Chugg
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    oh dear patchy, you just cant help yourself. you must get sore shoulders from the chip you carry on your shoulder. bless

  • Comment number 21.

    "the kind of place where you work up a sweat sipping a fruit juice in the shade." --- Loved that little nugget the most. Keep up the good work Senhor Vickery.

  • Comment number 22.

    Is Suarez another of these players that when they play for the national team seem to have another level? At Liverpool he has shown glimpses of quality in and amongst great petulance and diving.

    Regarding Colombia v Argentina, Los Cafeteros seem to have developed a frail mentality. For a country so in love with football and boasting a huge population, they have continually over the last 10 years built teams which seem to be waiting to fail. The 1-1 draw against Venezuela is proof of this; at home they should be winning these games

    A total overhaul is needed; hopefully Rodriguez will be at the forefront of it.

    http://wp.me/1qHQT

  • Comment number 23.

    Hi Tim,

    Any reason why you didn't mention Paraguay v Ecuador at all? I know they aren't considered the leading lights, but Paraguay are one of the more successful South American sides in recent years, qualifying for the last 4 world cups, made the recent Copa America final, knocking out Brazil in the process, and only denied in the World Cup Quarter-Finals by eventual champions Spain, who were pushed all the way by Las Albirojjas in that match.

    That Paraguay has a new manager, new style of play and some of the most exciting young talent in the Qualifiers seems to have been completely missed. Any chance an expose on Chiqui Arce's style, the likes of Richard Ortiz, Victor Ayala or Robin Ramirez as I fancy they have far more chance of playing in Brazil 2014 than Colombia or Chile.

  • Comment number 24.

    Question for you Tim.

    Why is it that Colombia play their home games in Barranquilla? Why not use altitude to their advantage and play in the mountains of Bogota? I see teams like Bolivia, Ecuador, and even Mexico in the Azteca use it to their advantage. I would think it would work to Colombia's advantage especially against a non-altitude team like Venezuela. What do you think?

  • Comment number 25.

    This must be the best team Uruguay have had since they won their last World Cup in 1950. Amazing a country so small can continue to churn out world class players.

  • Comment number 26.

    Suarez is not just a striker - he has provided a wealth of assists at Liverpool.

    The guy is a genius at creating something from nothing in and around the box.

  • Comment number 27.

    24 - when colombia have qualified it's always been from Barranquiila -they've tried Bogota in recent campaigns with no success - the altitude is not so extreme.

    23 - paraguay - will come to them later - but i fear for them this time

  • Comment number 28.

    18 - Coloccini has played 34 times for Argentina - last time as a sub v Ireland in August last year - never looked entirely comfortable at the level - slow and lured into giving away fouls.
    I suppose his recent form could get him back in - but more based on the paucity of options than anything else.

  • Comment number 29.

    Suarez has been great for country, and despite the comments by others, great for club too. He is still getting used to the English game and will improve over the course of the next year with his finishing and his team-play. Prem defenders are a more formidable opponent than South American or even Spanish defenders. Their size and physicality make it easier to run by them but more difficult to get a good shot off before they slam you off the ball. For Uruguay though, he's an essential piece of the puzzle and will make them a force for years to come if he continues on that way.

    All that said, I'm most uncomfortable with people comparing him to Messi. Messi is in a league of his own with skill and movement. Though he can't get it done with Argentina for a variety of reasons, he's still an absolute joy to watch every week. His effort and his attitude are freakish to say the least and his finishing touch is the best in the world, hands down. Suarez doesn't need to be compared to anyone. He's fantastic in his own right with his own style. He deserves credit for being the "Suarez" and not the "next Messi".

  • Comment number 30.

    I'm disappointed we don't have an article on the great Messi, snicker, didn't Argentina draw the great Bolivian team 1-1 at home? I don't know if he was playing.

  • Comment number 31.

    Tim, key comment about Uruguay as noticed in the Copa America recently too
    "the stars shine most brightly when the collective balance of the team is correct"
    that is true from sunday league pub teams up to world champions.

    Suarez is definately an real gem, however I am not so keen on his histrionical side, though I suppose it often comes with talent.

  • Comment number 32.

    I think like Maradona, Suarez at times, 'might' look like the villain as in the Ghana/Uruguay game last year. Hopefully, he will have good guidance now.

  • Comment number 33.

    @ManchesterUnited4Ever (#16) and any others doubting Suarez's performance in the league this season

    He's been Liverpool's stand out performer and anything good that we do has usually come from him. He's the kind of player who excites you whenever he's on the ball because you never know what he's going to do next, his finishing has been frustrating at times, but outstanding performances and saves from goalkeepers have contributed to that. Under the guidance of Kenny I expect it to improve. he's simply a magnificent player.

  • Comment number 34.

    I was a bit worried about a perceived "histrionic" side to Suarez before he came to Liverpool, but having watched him almost every game since, I would qualify that more as burning enthusiasm. I'm actually surprised at the LACK of histrionics from him considering how much punishment he gets from defenders. He just keeps getting up & getting on with it.

    As for his profligacy, there are so many times when he seems like Liverpool's only hope of a point or 3. I would worry more about what's going on around him. He hasn't even been there a full season yet but he has already more than made up for the loss of Torres. Or would Chelsea fans disagree?

    Tim's point about balance in the team might be one for Dalglish to pay more attention to. I believe he's done well but there is still a way to go.

  • Comment number 35.

    23 & Tim - Paraguay is in a very difficult transition phase, they can't score from open play (think those 2 against Brazil in Copa America are only two in 12 competitive games) so despite Arce wanting to bring a new style it is hard to get the players to change their 'chip' as we say here in Paraguay.

    My friend and I have been analysing Chiqui Arce on our YouTube show The Chiqui Boys, here: http://t.co/lYzR30Cq

  • Comment number 36.

    Been very impressed with Suarez since his arrival at Liverpool, I'm a Newcastle fan but the attacking threat he adds to Liverpool is invaluable should Liverpool wish to challenge for the top 4 again. Was supremely impressed with the Suarez-Forlan partnership at the 2010 World Cup and it was a shame to see Uruguay knocked out. It's good to see Uruguay at the top of South American football, rather than Brazil or Argentina, it was starting to get a little boring. I say Uruguay are the ones to watch at the next World Cup in 2014 if they keep their squad together.

  • Comment number 37.

    Not sure the year but I remember watching Spurs away at Manchester Utd a few years back. We were beaten comfortably while I squirmed as I sat next to my hosts in with the reds. A more severe beating was avoided by an exciting yet slightly wayward Diego Forlan. He seemed to do everything right except get the ball in the back of the net. Alex Ferguson sold him on not long after. Suarez seems very similar at the moment, very close to being brilliant but not quite getting there.Kenny Dalglish will have to persist with him however as at least he looks like he may come good, some of the others at his disposal I am not so sure.

  • Comment number 38.

    So many things to discuss after this third round of qualifiers. In recent years, Chile almost always seem to have disciplinary problems, well except when Bielsa was in charge as he got everybody in order. Borghi, like Bielsa’s predecessor Nelson Acosta is having trouble with some team members, in particular Jorge Valdivia. I agree that Borghi had no choice but to suspend the 5 (all of whom are starters or at least on the fringe of the starting XI) if they were as drunk as the coach claims they were when they arrived late to the team hotel. But then the problems multiplied when Valdivia criticized the coach for suspending he and the others while Alexis Sanchez then spoke out against his teammates complaining about the coach! It sounds like a tinderbox to me within that team. This Paraguay game is going to be very important for them as they need to sort these problems out now before they become even more of a distraction to the team. Against Peru, Chile showed they can bounce back at home after a disastrous road loss, they will need to do that again versus Paraguay.

    Argentina were too individualistic against Bolivia. Our traditional collective play just has not been there recently and this concerns me. As do the defensive problems. But Sabella apparently will go for some changes vs. Colombia, using Napoli’s Federico Fernandez and Javier Mascherano as the central defenders. Tim correctly points out how Messi and Pastore were spaced too far apart against Bolivia but it seems that Pastore will be a victim of Argentina’s more conservative approach to playing away. The albiceleste wilted in the 2nd half in the heat and humidity away to Venezuela, I fear the same thing could happen tomorrow in. Colombia. Watch for the cafeteros fullbacks Armero and Zuniga, as good a pair of fullbacks as there are on any national team.

    Ecuador have a good record in Quito against Peru in qualifying but this is the best Peruvian team in several decades. Should be an intriguing game. Sergio Markarian has given Peru order, something they have lacked for years. But Ecuador at home are as tough an opponent as there is in CONMEBOL.

    Venezuela have an ideal chance at home to move joint top of the table with Uruguay, that is if they can defeat Bolivia in Venezuela. The vinotintos will have played one match more by tomorrow than Uruguay but who would have predicted they could be tied for first after 4 qualifying games?

    Soccer Futbol Forum:
    http://z8.invisionfree.com/Soccer_Futbol_Forum/index.php

  • Comment number 39.

    Luis Suarez for me has shown to be one of the most adept in the Premier League this season in terms of being able to create an opportunity 'out of the blue'. I believe that if Liverpool, and Uruguay, have aspirations of success, then ensuring Suarez fits neatly into the respective teams is imperitive. I think Tim makes a great point that you can have a number of talented superstars, but without the right balance, they will never function as a team. Without wanting to turn this into a discussion around England, this is a vital aspect of team sport and although Capello is beginning to find a better balance in his squad, I think he is still some way off, particularly when he has Wayne Rooney at his disposal. The most successful teams accommodate their best players by supporting them with colleagues who have different attributes and this is certainly appearing to be successful with Uruguay.

    http://thethoughtsofphil.wordpress.com/

  • Comment number 40.

    There is no doubt that Uruguay now have a group of players that includes some of the most gifted and professional players in South America. Unlike Argentina who have even more gifted players but perhaps don't possess that professionalism and will to win at International level as much as they do for their respective clubs.
    Brazil could be also guilty of the same lack of focus or perhaps it's down to media pressure and being spoiled for choice, Neither of the big two can ever really settle on a core of certain starters, whereas that is not the case with Uruguay.
    Suarez is a typically good modern footballer, sharp, accurate and of course willing to simulate at the drop of a hat and whenever the opportunity arises. The latter quality is one which illustrates his devious quality and yet whether we like it or not, it will win games and salvage points. He has a never say die attitude and is willing to use every trick in the book.

  • Comment number 41.

    15. Yes, because as we all know, Rayo Vallacano and Levante are the clubs every young boy dream of playing for... or do you mean Barcelona and Madrid? Why use the term la liga at all when most of it doesn't count? Get a grip.

    40. I don't think professionalism is a problem with Argentina at all, Tevez is only one man, not a nation. The issue is their lack of options at the back.

    Does anyone else think that this qualifying group lacks mettle without a strong Argentina or Brazil to battle against? I fear for the teams that qualify this time round as they won't be tested as much, especially Uruguay, who although look great, don't have the opportunity to play against 'grandes'.

  • Comment number 42.

    Tim,do you think Garay would be a good option for the Argentian defence? In my opinion he is miles better than both Collocini and DeMichelles... Also do you think Insua or Ansaldi will be back to the squad?
    Many thanks

  • Comment number 43.

    Great blog as ever Tim
    Suarez is a special player but Liverpool need to start getting some crosses in.
    I mean, Suarez will most likely reach 15-20 goals this season but Carroll could get more feeding off crosses from Downing etc. They just seem to play very narrow and predictably through Suarez, who in my view has the ability to affect things without the special service. Clearly, he's the better footballer of the two but in tandem you're looking at 40 plus goals rather than 20 tops if Suarez is the main man and Carroll plays from the bench. Granted, Carroll has to start banging in some goals to justify my view but he's certainly got goals in him.
    SJ
    http://scottssportsandsocial.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 44.

    Suarez will prove the difference for Uruguay in this qualifying campaign as long as he is fit

  • Comment number 45.

    Luis is a skillful striker. He is young, strong and tenacious. He should be around scoring goals for club and country for the greater part of the ongoing decade. Good blog as usual Tim.

    Dr. Cajetan Coelho

  • Comment number 46.

    Suarez is better than Forlan, Cavani is better than Suarez and Abel Hernandez is better than Cavani. Uruguay will need to replace the three Diegos (Lugano, Perez and Forlan) and if they find players equally as good then Uruguay will stay in the top three of the world for years to come.

  • Comment number 47.

    To Jack Mosley (#33)

    Thanks for the response. As I said I haven`t seen a huge amount of Suarez this season so wasn`t sure if he had been more of a creative influence than the stats show.
    I still think he needs to work on his shooting accuracy (according to Liverpool 50% of his shots are off target) - though that may come with a bit more time.

 

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