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Can Uruguay roll back the years at London 2012?

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Tim Vickery | 17:49 UK time, Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Paris Olympics of 1924 are best remembered in Britain for providing the backdrop to Chariots of Fire. But for all the heroism of Messrs Liddell and Abrahams, something happened there with far greater consequences - the birth of modern football.

No-one knew much about Uruguay as they sailed their way across the Atlantic to take part in the football tournament. But they strolled to the gold medal with an artistic style of play that captivated spectators and set off a fever for the game.

Four years later, to prove it was no fluke, Uruguay won the gold medal at the Amsterdam Olympics. Argentina came across as well, and they took the silver.

The South Americans, who had been playing a continental competition almost annually since 1916, had taken the game to new heights. But could they beat the English professionals? A new competition was needed, one which was not restricted to amateurs. And so the World Cup was born, its first edition staged - and won - by Uruguay in 1930.

Montevideo's giant Centenario stadium was hurriedly built for the tournament, and remains one of football's great venues. Behind one of its goals is the Colombes stand - named after the Paris stadium where Uruguay won gold in 1924. Behind the other goal is the Amsterdam stand, named after 1928. And the main stand at the side is the Tribuna Olimpica.

The triumphs of almost 90 years ago live on in the collective imagination of the Uruguayan game. 'Other countries have their history,' goes the saying, 'Uruguay has its football.'

To this day, in all sports, Uruguay have only ever won two Olympic golds. But they are now dreaming of a third. For the first time since 1928, the sky blues have qualified for the football tournament so there is a lovely historical resonance about their participation in the 2012 Games. But even with all his enormous respect for his country's footballing past, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez goes into the tournament with a firm eye on the future.

Uruguay's Edinson Cavani in a warm-up match for the Olympic Games.

Uruguay's Edinson Cavani in a warm-up match for the Olympic Games. Photo: Getty.

Since his second spell in charge of the national team began some six years ago, things have gone very well for Uruguay on two fronts. The senior side reached the World Cup semi finals in 2010 and won last year's Copa America. And the junior teams have also shown promise in World Cups at Under-17 and Under-20 levels. The London Olympics are where these two strands come together.

It is a very necessary meeting. Uruguay have made a good start to the 2014 World Cup qualifiers, standing a point behind leaders Chile with a game in hand. But it is an ageing side and some of its components are starting to creak. Options need to present themselves over the next two years.

So far, though, only two Olympic-age (under-23) players have featured in the five matches of the World Cup qualification campaign - Liverpool centre-back Sebastian Coates and Bologna playmaker Gaston Ramirez. Both have played bit-part roles. Neither has looked entirely convincing.

The Olympics, then, have a key role to play as Uruguay seek to prepare a transition to a new generation.

The choice of over-age players shows clearly that Tabarez sees the Olympic side in the same mould as the seniors. Back in 2006 he made a great fanfare about Uruguay's national teams at all levels going with a 4-3-3 formation. It lasted exactly one competitive game - defeat to Peru in the opener of the 2007 Copa America. "Reality was too strong for us," he confessed later.

Since then pragmatism has been the order of the day. With the same starting line up, the senior side can operate in a number of different formations, but the spirit remains the same. Tabarez points out that in every game of the last World Cup the opposition had more possession but Uruguay had more shots.

Their front line is full of individual talents happy to work together - represented in the Olympic squad by Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Behind them lies a workmanlike midfield, which includes the third over-age name in the squad - Egidio Arevalo Rios.

With these three providing the structure, the youngsters will be looking to shine. Coates, for example, will hope to show that he be a long-term replacement for senior captain Diego Lugano. Alongside him Alexis Rolin looks a very interesting centre-back, a late developer but one who has already earned comparisons with Brazil's Thiago Silva.

Or there is Diego Polenta. Stocky, classy and able to play at left-back or in midfield as well as in the centre. Son of a former international, Matias Aguirregaray is an aggressive, attacking right-back.

Places are up for grabs in central midfield. Arevalo Rios might be past his best in 2014. His senior partner Diego Perez certainly will be. High hopes surround the Olympic duo of Maxi Calzada and Diego Rodriguez - the latter, especially, has the combative spirit of Perez and offers more in possession. There are interesting wide attacking options, too, in Tabare Vuidez and Jonathan Urretaviscaya. Abel Hernandez is a quick left-footed striker, too.

The playmaker position is perhaps the most interesting of all. In the World Cup Diego Forlan dropped a few metres deeper to become the brains of the attack and was chosen as player of the tournament. But he will be 35 in 2014. Can Gaston Ramirez step up? He is elegant and talented, with an excellent left foot. But he has looked off the pace when called up to the senior side. In the Olympics the pressure is on him to make the bullets for the likes of Suarez and Cavani to fire.

Another option is Nicolas Lodeiro, the star of the 2009 Under-20 side who was so impressive in the play-off against Costa Rica when Uruguay qualified for the last World Cup.

Since then, not much has gone right for the little left-footed attacking midfielder. He has been hit by injuries and a move to Ajax was not a success - indeed, he has just joined Botafogo in Brazil. He needs a good tournament to recapture the momentum of three years ago.

Uruguay would clearly love to leave London with the long-awaited third gold medal. Even more important, though, is feeding players into their team for 2014, where they will aim for a long-awaited third World Cup win. Pulling that off really would be a cinematic achievement, well worthy of a soundtrack by Chariots of Fire composer Vangelis.

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

From last week's postbag;

Q) Rafael Toloi is a player I've heard of mainly through football management games where he has massive potential. I would just like to know your thoughts on him and whether you think he has the real life potential to become a world class defender.

James Clift

A) It's a mystery to me why he's not in Brazil's Olympic squad. I think he's streets ahead of Juan or Bruno Uvini not only in experience but also in ability, the kind of combative centre back who could develop into an inspirational leader. Perhaps he suffered from staying with Goias when they went down to the second division - and to be fair I haven't seen much of him over the past year - but he has just joined Sao Paulo, where his visibility will be much greater.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    I'm very impressed by Uruguay- and the three South American/Mexico teams. I fully expect them to show Team GB a fast flowing and attacking game. Do they play 3 at the back at u23 level like they do at senior level?

    Comparisons are light on the ground- but there's some to be seen at http://www.huttondressedaslahm.com/2012/07/embarrassment-of-youth.html but I don't think it covers much on Uruguay. Nevertheless there's a good article on Team GB: http://www.huttondressedaslahm.com/2012/07/the-team-gb-experiment.html and why we should forget about that team.

    How many of this team are part of the senior squad Tim? I understand that 17/18 Brazilians are while only 7 of Team GB and even less of Spain. It's incredibly hard to gauge how "experienced" players are when many Brazilians play in State League games which are less competitive and many Spaniards play for the 'B' side of their respective teams.

    That being said, surely a 'B' side in Liga Adelante is still stronger than League One, League Two and a good deal of the Championship.

    I'm very excited to watch this Uruguay team play- although just for the football, not because it's the 'Olympics'. I'd be as intrigued if it was an u21 competition- I guess the inclusion of Cavani and Suarez tells you all you need to know!

    It certainly put the David Beckham consideration into context...

    Finally, who do you expect to top the group? Are people over-critical over Team GB? Or are they simply not as good as whats on offer elsewhere- fancy Uruguay to top the group, maybe go all the way?

  • Comment number 2.

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

  • Comment number 3.

    @ Norsefox

    Interesting articles.


    Surely, if Team GB (i.e Home Nations) can learn anything from these Olympics, it's that countries like Uruguay have got something write. Although the FIFA Rankings have a huge degree of artificial inflation (just look at England).

    Uruguay in fact deserve their place at 3rd in the world. 4th place at the WC in 2010 then winners of the Copa America... This is a country smaller than Scotland! In fact it's almost half the size of Greater London!!!

    Surely we can learn something from that? Or will it be yet another summer of watching how football is meant to be played, calling it at first boring, revising ourselves to the point of disgusting admiration and then ignoring it in favour of football played the only way Andy Carroll knows how?!

    I'm a fervent supporter of the 'real' Team GB and will support our athletes at the Games. I however have no time at all for this Mickey Mouse team led by Pearce. Hopefully we can learn something off the Uruguay, Mexico and Brazil squads. Finally we might realise that we need to start over again?


    Signed, a hopeful Scot.

  • Comment number 4.

    Once again a great article.

    Echo what everybody else is saying, reallying looking forward to the Latin American teams at the Olympics. I think we are in for a lesson on how technically advanced football-wise the rest of the world actually is at youth/senior level.

    Against Brazil, putting Marvin Sordell or Michael Richards up against Neymar, Pato and Ganso, shows the size of the task ahead. Lack of movement, scared witless on the ball and inability to contol the tempo will see these u23 sides rip through GB.

    Its one of the most open Olympic football tournements ever. Spain, Uruguay and Brazil will be there. Even teams like South Korea, Japan and Morocco have selected very competitive teams.

  • Comment number 5.

    Interesting article Tim, where did you draw your inspiration to write about Uruguay?

    It will be interesting to see how the team shapes up, especially with the most probable tag of being 3rd favourites. My two teams to look out for will be Belarus and Senegal.

    ALso interesting that Argentina will be missing for the first time in years. They're normally strong in this competition. Here's a question. Most pundits / writers say that the Olympics serve as a pre-cursor to WC in that the olympic squad tends to transfer into the WC squad. Historically, Argentina have always been strong in the youth tournaments and the Olympic ones, but then have done comparatively poorly in WC. Why is that?

    On a final note, this is surely a blog custom written for Yakubus Diet. He'll surely be salivating at the prospect of writing about his beloved team.

  • Comment number 6.

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  • Comment number 7.

    It's a great shame that the British sporting public seem indifferent - or more likely ignorant - to the historical significance of Uruguay in Olympic football, and to the potential of this squad.
     
    When I left England it was divided into youngsters who thought that football was invented in 1992 by the Premier League, and older people who "know" that Dennis Waterman won the first ever World Cup in 1912 for West Auckland playing as England.
     
    The idea that Uruguay revolutionised world football, led to the establishment of the World Cup and created the forerunner of Spain's short-passing game is simply virtually unknown in England today. 
     
    In recent weeks, those of us who do pay attention to Tim Vickery and Jonathan Wilson have had to endure other "experts" describing Spain's three consecutive championships as "unprecedented" (what, since Uruguay were world champions in 1924, 1928 and 1930?) and now this weekend saying that Team GB won't have to face a team of Brazil's strength unless they meet Brazil in the later stages of the Olympics.
     
    The crowning achievement of Oscar Washington Tabarez is that he has restored his nation of just 3 million people to the very top table of international football. And he has done it in an incredibly thoughtful and progressive way. He has turned upside down the whole process of grooming players from an early age, and he has educated his senior players to understand their history and responsibilities.
     
    Only in Uruguay were the 30-something national team captain (Lugano) and star player (Forlan) desperate to play at the Olympics. I have never seen a national team anywhere with the cohesion and team spirit that Tabarez has fostered. You only have to see the celebrations after every goal they score: Cavani scores precious few as he is played as a midfielder to accommodate Suarez and Forlan yet he responds to every goal like a fan.
     
    And whereas in Argentina an under-educated, under-privileged boy like Tevez or Maradona grows into a man like Tevez or Maradona, Tabarez ensures that the likes of Luis Suarez get a crash course in history and social responsibilty and develops into a more rounded man and footballer. (Please don't bring up Evra here: the star player for Uruguay 88 years ago in 1924 was the "maravilla negra" Jose Leandro Andrade, who hailed from Suarez' home town of Salto and was the son of a 98 year old escaped Brazilian slave, who pretty much put black footballers on the world map - in 1994 "France Football" named him in the all-time Top Ten World Cup players.)
     
    Brazil's Olympic team has been playing together for a year and is clearly being groomed as the 2014 World Cup side, and I think that they are slightly better than this Uruguay side, which is vulnerable down the flanks and under-manned in central midfield. But I have tickets for the Semi-Final at Old Trafford and the Final at Wembley, and I hope I will get to see Uruguay in one or both of those matches.
     
    Uruguay's return to the Olympics is important for them, after a gap of 84 years, and the fact that they have such a strong squad makes it even more poignant. But something bigger lies just ahead: last week Diego Lugano (senior national captain) met with the children and grandchildren of the players who beat Brazil in 1950 in the Maracana to win the World Cup. It's another example of how seriously Tabarez has the Uruguayan team taking their historical responsibilities. And Lugano said what everyone in Uruguay is thinking: the current senior team has the ability to shock the world again at a World Cup in Brazil in 2014. They might not win, but they want to go as far as they possibly can.
     
    And while I tip this Brazil team to beat this Uruguay side at the Olympics, I suspect that if they meet again in Brazil in 2014 the pressure of the occasion just might see 1950 happen all over again.

  • Comment number 8.

    A good article as ever.

    For the size of their population (which I believe is slightly greater than that of Wales) their achievements in football are truly amazing. I look forward to seeing them in action over the next couple of weeks.

  • Comment number 9.

    @ 1 norsefox

    An interesting observation about the number of players in the Olympic squad who also play in the senior team.

    Team GB is a bit of a red herring in that it is essentially a mishmash of players. Those who were not good enough to get into the England Euro 2012 squad, were prepared to play even though their association were not in favour (the Welsh players) and were made available by their clubs. Even then there were some odd exclusions (Rhodes for example).

    Spain have an extremely strong senior team so it is not surprising that many of the young players have not broken into the senior team. There are question marks about whether the younger generation will be as good as Alonso, Iniesta, Puyol, Villa and Xavi but this will probably only be an issue after 2014.

    As for Brazil they have essentially built a completely new team from the last World Cup. They may win the Olympics but most recognise they will need to improve massively to succeed in 2014.

  • Comment number 10.

    I would love to see Uruguay win the Olympic football. If only as a reward for Luis Suarez who has been the victim of orchestrated and wide spread xenophobia ever since he started playing in England.

    For a country with a population of only about 3 million to achieve World Cups, Copa America and Olympic wins is truly something special.

  • Comment number 11.

    1.At 07:52 23rd Jul 2012, norsefox wrote
    How many of this team are part of the senior squad Tim? I understand that 17/18 Brazilians are while only 7 of Team GB and even less of Spain.

    9.At 09:28 23rd Jul 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    @ 1 norsefox

    An interesting observation about the number of players in the Olympic squad who also play in the senior team.

    Team GB is a bit of a red herring in that it is essentially a mishmash of players
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Well, Brazil see the Olympics as vital preparation for the World Cup in 2014, as well as a tournament they are taking seriously in order to win. I expect to see a lot of these players in the Brazil squad at the World Cup in 2 years time, particularly if they do well.

    With the European nations, the Olympics being in the same year as a Euros is unfortunate timing and means their squads will be far weaker, as the clubs simply won't countenance their players being involved in 2 tournaments over a single summer. Which is a shame for the national teams, but also quite sensible to be honest.

  • Comment number 12.

    10.At 09:44 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    I would love to see Uruguay win the Olympic football. If only as a reward for Luis Suarez who has been the victim of orchestrated and wide spread xenophobia ever since he started playing in England.

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

    oh for heavens sake. He tried to wind up an opponent with an unacceptable bait, he got caught out, get over it.

    If, hypothetically, Javier Hernandez had been accused of doing the same thing to Glen Johnson it is plainly obvious you and your fellow supporters of a certain club would have a quite different opinion. Grow up.

  • Comment number 13.

    9.At 09:28 23rd Jul 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    ___________________
    The Team GB was a bit of joke. I'm guessing that NI and Scotland were not willing to let any of their players go? Otherwise why on earth was sordell chosen ahead of rhodes? It's a poor team (in comparison) to some of the others out there and it could potentially be a bit of an embarrassment.

  • Comment number 14.

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

  • Comment number 15.

    @ 13 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    I expect that is the reason why there are no Scottish players. I'm struggling to think of any under 23 NI players to be honest. The only positives are likely to be Butland (who looks a really good prospect), Allen and Cleverley.

  • Comment number 16.

    Good to see an old school nation doing well again. I remember seeing them win the world cup in my youth shortly before i turned 30.

    Forlan has been a cracking player but will be past it. I wonder if someone else can step up and fill the creative void.

  • Comment number 17.

    Comment number 12.At 09:53 23rd Jul 2012, Vox Populi wrote:
    10.At 09:44 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    I would love to see Uruguay win the Olympic football. If only as a reward for Luis Suarez who has been the victim of orchestrated and wide spread xenophobia ever since he started playing in England.

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

    oh for heavens sake. He tried to wind up an opponent with an unacceptable bait, he got caught out, get over it.

    If, hypothetically, Javier Hernandez had been accused of doing the same thing to Glen Johnson it is plainly obvious you and your fellow supporters of a certain club would have a quite different opinion. Grow up.

    -------------------------------------------------------
    Funny how you bring up the 'trial' in response to by comment. I did not even mention it in my post.

    The 'trial' was a wonderful example of politics, a very poor example of justice, and yet another depressing example of xenophobia.

    Xenophobia is rife through all levels of English football.

  • Comment number 18.

    @3 'This is a country smaller than Scotland! In fact it's almost half the size of Greater London!!!'
    Uruguay is approx 68000 sq miles, more than twice the size of Scotland...

  • Comment number 19.

    I guess people will have to realise that despite the FA's defeaning silence regarding recent tweets by ( England's) Rio Ferdinand and any follow up on ( England's) John Terry reason case, there will still be some who will see through the politics that were at play during (Uruguay's) Luis Suarez trial and demand justice.

    Xenophobia is the big problem in English football.

  • Comment number 20.

    15.At 10:16 23rd Jul 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    ____________________

    Will be interesting to see who plays. I hope cleverley, ramsey and allen get put into the centre mid positions. Team GB look short of options in attack though. Unless they play bellamy as a striker?

    It's a great achievement for Uruguay based on their small population, though having a large population is not necessarily an ingredient to success.

  • Comment number 21.

    @ JamTay

    So many more months on and LFC fans are still banging on about it! It's been done to death already.

    Suarez got a raw deal but he should have known better. To say that EPL is "xenophobic" given the diverse nationalities that play is frankly ridiculous.

  • Comment number 22.

    #19
    Suarez was always going to get hammered for it, it's what the FA with big name players. They did the same to Rio for his missed drugs test because, despite letting off 6 other players for the same offence, he was a 'big name'.

  • Comment number 23.

    #22
    Sorry, forgot to add it's time to let it go though.

  • Comment number 24.

    @ 20 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    This GB team has many issues. Defensively it looks suspect and up front the choices are a half fit striker (who probably should be resting), an injury prone winger/forward and a player who somehow made it into the squad. Ironically compared to the England team at Euro 2012 this team has a lot of talented central midfielders but they wont be much use if there is nobody to receive the ball in the final third of the pitch.

  • Comment number 25.

    Informative article as always from Tim.
    Just a few things that should be pointed out though. Uruguay play an essentially counter-attacking style of Football with physical and aggressive tactics when possible. Yet they are being praised by pundits as the model to follow if success is to be achieved at international level.
    When Carlos Dunga was using some of these tactics, along with a passing game, he was heavily criticised for making Brazil a 'boring' but inevitably successful team.
    So why the different attitude?
    Also the current Brazil Olympic team, though they looked quite good in their game against GB, you have to remember how bad GB were. The latter looked like a hastily assembled last-minute bunch of players who had never played together. Some of the names i had never even heard of before. Also Brazil are missing a prolific striker, they cannot rely on their defenders and midfielders to get goals.
    This Brazil set up needs to prove it against stronger opposition before they can even be considered contenders for the WC 2014.

  • Comment number 26.

    Tim, another good read from your goodself.

    I am looking forward to watching Uruguay this summer and I hope we see them play in the manner of the full national team. If they do, it will be extremely difficult for any team facing them.

    For me they have been the most balanced team in terms of play, at full international level, for sometime now. Strong in most areas on the pitch with a few outstanding talents thrown in to create what is needed to be successful. They certainly do play from back to front.

    It is interesting, you mention Forlan's role, the WC and 'Copa' definitely showed his effect when dropped to a deeper position. I believe he is the one player who will be impossible to replace, like for like.

    Ramirez, I doubt his ability to replicate Forlan's play at this stage of his career, it may well be that Uruguay will have to be patient and adopt a slightly different approach. Of course he may eventually fulfill the role but i do see him as a more conventional defined type of player.

  • Comment number 27.

    Also Brazil are missing a prolific striker, they cannot rely on their defenders and midfielders to get goals.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Our weakest position when we won the WC was the forwards. The WC is still two years away, plus often its during the competition itself that players emerge. I wouldnt worry too much about that when you look at the array of talent and goal scoring midfielders Brazil have.

  • Comment number 28.

    @ 25 Jogo_Bonito

    I agree. It would be unwise to read too much into the performance of Brazil at the Olympics, even if they go on to win it.

    Neymar clearly has a huge amount of talent but at the moment reminds me of Cristiano Ronaldo at that age - great with the ball at his feet, lots of tricks but not that influencial. Hulk certainly has pace and power but i'm not convinced about his technical ability. Oscar was the most impressive player for me and could grow into the role of main playmaker for the team.

  • Comment number 29.

    jogo bonito @25

    It is hard to compare Uruguay with Brasil under Dunga. I mentioned in a previous post the balance of Uruguay runs through the entire team. Brasil definitely had a reliance on backs under Dunga therefore it was unbalanced. By the end of his reign Brasil had become very predictable.

  • Comment number 30.

    baggiosponytail @28

    Hiya

    For the last couple of years watching Neymar he's been a dream, his movement off the ball is exceptional for his age. Yes of course he has a few tricks but he is a born goal machine.

    I would say in all the time I've watched him, his one problem is his physical strength on the pitch, at the moment he is a mddleweight competing against heavyweights. He has never looked physically strong and is certainly not robust.

    True you do not have to possess the physique of Hulk to ride a tackle but you do need strength.

  • Comment number 31.

    @ 30 Londoner

    Good morning.

    Yes Neymar has nearly all of the attributes to become a really great player. As you point out he will probably need to become physically tougher to fully realise his potential. The likes of Best, Maradona and Messi had or have that steel to go with the amazing technical ability which is important to succeed on the biggest stages.

  • Comment number 32.

    Comment number 21.At 10:56 23rd Jul 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:
    @ JamTay

    So many more months on and LFC fans are still banging on about it! It's been done to death already.

    Suarez got a raw deal but he should have known better. To say that EPL is "xenophobic" given the diverse nationalities that play is frankly ridiculous.

    ----------------------------------------------------
    I agree Suarez got a real deal. His recent comments seem to suggest that he does now 'know better' with regards to how the politics work within English football.

    I strongly maintain that xenophobia is rife throughout English football. Look at comments that the most successful manager in English football has made about Germans, Uruguayans and Italians previously. Look at the media (not just the red tops). Look at for example the Panorama episode on Ukraine and Poland.

    Occasionally it's thinly veiled, but a large percent of the time it is blatant

  • Comment number 33.

    Comment number 31.At 12:04 23rd Jul 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    @ 30 Londoner

    Good morning.

    Yes Neymar has nearly all of the attributes to become a really great player. As you point out he will probably need to become physically tougher to fully realise his potential. The likes of Best, Maradona and Messi had or have that steel to go with the amazing technical ability which is important to succeed on the biggest stages.
    --------------------
    Unless he follows in the footsteps of Garrincha.

    Frail, bow legged, looked like a strong wind would blow him over.

    But give him the ball and he was at least the equal of any of the great Brazilian players.

  • Comment number 34.

    28.At 11:42 23rd Jul 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    Neymar clearly has a huge amount of talent but at the moment reminds me of Cristiano Ronaldo at that age - great with the ball at his feet, lots of tricks but not that influencial
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    His (Neymar's) goalscoring record is very impressive.

    42 goals in 88 games in the Brazilian top division.

    In all competitions, his record for Santos is 110 goals in 186 appearances.

    9 goals in 18 appearances for Brazil, again a strike-rate of 1 in 2. (All according to Wikipedia)

    I'd suggest that Cristiano Ronaldo wasn't scoring as prolifically at the age of 20, although presumably the Brazilian league isn't at the same level as the EPL. However, those are very impressive stats and certainly suggest at least that Neymar is an influential player.

  • Comment number 35.

    32.At 12:04 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    ______________________
    Suarez got the ban because he was a high profile player. It's what the FA do to "make examples" of players. Like Rooney's 4 game ban for swearing. If that was a League 1 player, nobody would care.

    I'm not sure whether you were reffering to SAF as xenophobic comments. Again, maybe taken out of context, but given the fact that he's managed players from those nationalities (amongst many others) it would seem a bit stupid to say he's xenophobic. Unless, of course when we joke or say "spanish players are cynical and have a tendancy to go down under minimal contact" is also xenophobic?

  • Comment number 36.

    Not sure I agree with those posters saying Brazil are short of strikers. Perhaps the problem here is that we have been spoilt by the sheer brilliance of previous generations.

    Most International teams would be happy to pick from Hulk, Pato or Daimio with a huge prospect like Neymar also playing between the lines.

    Maybe with all the talented Brazilian playmakers coming through, they will even copy the Spanish style and play without a recognised striker?

  • Comment number 37.

    24.At 11:19 23rd Jul 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    __________________

    And yet some were lauding Pearce for not selecting beckham when he got so many other choices wrong. I go back to a previous question, who on earth is marvin sordell? Is he the heir to michael ricketts? Why were none of the England U-21 not called up?

  • Comment number 38.

    32.At 12:04 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    I strongly maintain that xenophobia is rife throughout English football. Look at comments that the most successful manager in English football has made about Germans, Uruguayans and Italians previously
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Funny how he has also signed players of those nationalities for his club. Strange how that renowned xenophobe has successfully integrated players of varying races and nationalities into his successful teams. Weird how the xenophobic nation were prepared to pay two foreign managers extraordinary sums to try and make the national team better while other 'established football nations' would not even consider it. Funny how the Premier League of that country of xenophobes and racists have freely allowed owners from foreign countries to buy their leading club sides, even when their background has occasionally been dubious to say the least.

    Please, for the sake of your own sanity if anything at all, just give it up.

  • Comment number 39.

    vox populi

    Neymar and Ronaldo [at the same age] are very different types of players. I think what baggio was saying was both have or had a bag of tricks.

    There is no way Neymar has reached maturity in terms of being a footballer because he is weak in the physical sense. He is a wonderful talent and given the normal progress, he may turn out to be sensational as a forward.

    I do believe he is way beyond his years positionally, his movement is like that of a 26/27 year old and he has a brain for football.

    He can see the play and develop it, which leads me to believe a team could be built around him.

  • Comment number 40.

    @18

    I think it's pretty obvious that number 3 was implicitly referring to population size, I fail to see why the land mass of a country has anything to do with its sporting or footballing success.

  • Comment number 41.

    39.At 12:19 23rd Jul 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    vox populi

    Neymar and Ronaldo [at the same age] are very different types of players. I think what baggio was saying was both have or had a bag of tricks.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The criticism of C.Ronaldo at that age was that he had lots of tricks, but no end product.

    As I thought baggio was referring to that, I assumed that was what he was saying about Neymar? I apologise if I misunderstood.

    I agree with your points.

  • Comment number 42.

    @ 34 Vox Populi

    Perhaps i'm being too critical. Those stats are certainly impressive and he definitely stands out in the Brazilian league.

    I would say he probably needs to ply his trade in Europe to truly test himself.

  • Comment number 43.

    Comment number 35.At 12:11 23rd Jul 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:
    32.At 12:04 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    ______________________
    Suarez got the ban because he was a high profile player. It's what the FA do to "make examples" of players. Like Rooney's 4 game ban for swearing. If that was a League 1 player, nobody would care.

    I'm not sure whether you were reffering to SAF as xenophobic comments. Again, maybe taken out of context, but given the fact that he's managed players from those nationalities (amongst many others) it would seem a bit stupid to say he's xenophobic. Unless, of course when we joke or say "spanish players are cynical and have a tendancy to go down under minimal contact" is also xenophobic?
    ______________________
    Well I do agree about the high profile bit been a factor. The Rooney case you mentioned was ridiculous, the ban he was given was longer than he would of received if the ref had sent him off for foul and abusive language! It was a case of trial by TV and although it was a moronic thing for Rooney to do the point made about if it was a league 1 player is valid.

    But receiving an overlong ban (we could all debate if a ban was even warranted) for swearing is one thing. What Luis Suarez was accused of by the FA is an entirely different matter. Politics and xenophobia meant that a player was branded (in England) as something that he is clearly not.

    I fully accept your point regarding SAF, but Luis Suarez could use a very similar argument in his defence.

    What is interesting (and has barely been reported in the UK) is just how much support there is for Luis Suarez worldwide, and anger and astonishment with the kangaroo court, and the political games that were used against him.

  • Comment number 44.

    43.At 12:25 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    What is interesting (and has barely been reported in the UK) is just how much support there is for Luis Suarez worldwide, and anger and astonishment with the kangaroo court, and the political games that were used against him.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What angers and astonishes me is this refusal to believe that a Liverpool player could do anything wrong, ever, and a refusal to accept that the governing body have the right to punish him. You and many others have attempted to play apprentice lawyers and complicate a case which is quite straight-forward: a nasty piece of work trying to wind up an opponent in a big game and get him sent off. He wasn't being friendly, he wasn't exchanging pleasantries, he crossed the line in trying to provoke an opponent and he got punished. End of story. I'm not interesting in technicalities or ways in which you think Suarez should be let off.

    I don't actually believe Suarez is a racist, he was trying to rile Evra and gain an advantage for Liverpool in a football match, but his tactic for doing that was out of order and that's the price he has to pay for doing that. It is quite simple, really. I repeat: get over it.

  • Comment number 45.

    43: One thing the Fa didn't do was brand Suarez a racist.

  • Comment number 46.

    @ 37 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    I believe Sordell played for Watford and occasionally for Bolton last season. I've no idea how he made it into the squad.

    The teams Pearce has managed tend to play negative football, that is his style. Like many really good players (Tony Adams, David Platt, Bryan Robson etc.) he is a poor manager.

  • Comment number 47.

    baggiosponytail

    I would say he probably needs to ply his trade in Europe to truly test himself.

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

    I don't know, I feel that moving to Europe, is a bit of a gamble for any young player in S America and it can certainly hinder their progress as footballers. For some it worked but for others it has been be a disaster.

    I do believe you can question the moves of many players from the region but not because they are not potentially good enough. I think the main problem is at what stage of their development as footballers and men is it appropriate. I feel many have floundered under the weight of expectation.

    Neymar, could of made the move last season but i hope he waits another couple of years.

  • Comment number 48.

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

  • Comment number 49.

    Tim,

    Can you shed any light on why Pablo Ceppelini was not selected in Uruguay’s Olympic squad?

    In my opinion he is one of Uruguay’s most exciting midfield prospects but I suspect his career may have stagnated due to a lack of playing time in the Serie A.

  • Comment number 50.

    @ 47 Londoner

    Yes timing is very important - I probably should have added 'at some point'. Suarez for example seemed to adjust well at a young age but others have struggled. I mentioned earlier that I was impressed by Oscar but if he moves to Chelsea that could be a gamble as they have lots of midfielders so it may be difficult for him to break into their first team.

  • Comment number 51.

    You have got to be joking Tim, absolutely ridiculous.

  • Comment number 52.

    Baggiosponytail

    Another point on players moving to Europe at a young age.

    Seb Coates was getting a tremendous amount of experience at Nacional before his move to Liverpool. He played in the 'Copa' [he showe his ability and class] for Uruguay where i do believe he was awarded the best young player of the tournament.

    Now I'd ask, for Liverpool is he going to develop further and become a truly top class defender? Or will he be a run of the mill player who never quite makes it at the very top because he made the move too soon?

    I certainly feel at the time of the move he was playing regular football and would of continued playing had he stayed at Nacional. Since joining Liverpool he has hardly played. Has that helped him?

    Before we could answer the question, it has to include the fact that he has already played at a high level before joining LFC.

  • Comment number 53.

    ari000 @49

    Can you shed any light on why Pablo Ceppelini was not selected in Uruguay’s Olympic squad?
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Maybe his is a case of three clubs in just over a season has been seen as too much for him.

    Have to admit he did look a player in the making but I do believe those moves have stunted his development.

  • Comment number 54.

    43.At 12:25 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    _________________________

    I think the issue was around what suarez said and the how the FA have the whole "kick it out of football" campaign. if anything it was part of the FAs crusade rather than being xenophobic. I don't terry is quite finished, though it doesn't help his trial went to court.

    As a utd fan, I'm used to the likes of rio, rooney, g nev etc getting singled out for extra punishment from FA. I don't think they're xenophobic, I just think they're little men with big boots.

  • Comment number 55.

    46.At 12:35 23rd Jul 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    @ 37 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    I believe Sordell played for Watford and occasionally for Bolton last season. I've no idea how he made it into the squad
    _______________________

    I think he has something on Psycho. I mean surely even Delfuesno or someone would have been better? What about Carroll? Or Wellbeck / Walcott?

    Was that a tongue in cheek comments about "good" managers like Adams & Robson?

  • Comment number 56.

    52.At 12:56 23rd Jul 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    _________________________

    Perhaps with skrtel possible leaving he will get more opportunities? Maybe Coates believes that he'll break into the first team. Surely then it'll be worth it.

    But like you I also share your pessimism about youngsters moving abroad at an early age. I would have though LFC would have loaned Coates back to Nacional.

  • Comment number 57.

    Comment number 44.At 12:33 23rd Jul 2012, Vox Populi wrote:
    43.At 12:25 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    What is interesting (and has barely been reported in the UK) is just how much support there is for Luis Suarez worldwide, and anger and astonishment with the kangaroo court, and the political games that were used against him.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    What angers and astonishes me is this refusal to believe that a Liverpool player could do anything wrong, ever, and a refusal to accept that the governing body have the right to punish him. You and many others have attempted to play apprentice lawyers and complicate a case which is quite straight-forward: a nasty piece of work trying to wind up an opponent in a big game and get him sent off. He wasn't being friendly, he wasn't exchanging pleasantries, he crossed the line in trying to provoke an opponent and he got punished. End of story. I'm not interesting in technicalities or ways in which you think Suarez should be let off.

    I don't actually believe Suarez is a racist, he was trying to rile Evra and gain an advantage for Liverpool in a football match, but his tactic for doing that was out of order and that's the price he has to pay for doing that. It is quite simple, really. I repeat: get over it.
    -----------------------------
    May I suggest that your own particular dislike of a club is warping your views on this particular incident? The issue is not about club loyalties and frankly that adds nothing to the debate.

    If you are not interested in the technicalities, and have nothing to add further then perhaps you should listen to your own advice?

  • Comment number 58.

    Comment number 54.At 13:08 23rd Jul 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:
    43.At 12:25 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    _________________________

    I think the issue was around what suarez said and the how the FA have the whole "kick it out of football" campaign. if anything it was part of the FAs crusade rather than being xenophobic. I don't terry is quite finished, though it doesn't help his trial went to court.

    As a utd fan, I'm used to the likes of rio, rooney, g nev etc getting singled out for extra punishment from FA. I don't think they're xenophobic, I just think they're little men with big boots.
    _________________________
    Yes I agree it was definitely part of the latest political crusade.

    I think the players you have picked out have been the victims of been a 'name' and therefore it's splashed on the back pages and then the FA jump on a bandwagon! As mentioned with the Rooney swearing (stupid though it was) to get a 4 game ban when career threatening tackles can get 3 game plans is so ridiculous it could only have been done by the FA!

    My point is not that the FA is or is not xenophobic. My point is that a large part of English football and society is.

  • Comment number 59.

    @ 52 Londoner

    This is a very interesting and complicated discussion. There are so many variables including whether a team plays in a way that suits the individual, how the player adjusts to life away from the pitch etc.

    I do think a lot of the top Premier League teams buy young talent for the wrong reasons. These players often spend a lot of time on the bench or are farmed out to relegation battling teams which is unlikely to improve their game or confidence.

    Unfortunately especially with the top teams it is a squad game and good players are often not used properly which is a shame.

  • Comment number 60.

    58.At 13:24 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    ______________________

    Yeah completely agree, it's all about the "name" rather than the actual point they are trying to prove.

    As for society / football, again I'd disagree / agree with certain points. I think society is very much welcoming to foreigners, but I think there's always an under current of national pride that can be mistaked as xenophobic. Eg the newspapers during Euros / WC etc.

  • Comment number 61.

    @ 55 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    Maybe he does.

    I think you misread my post - I was pointing out that a lot of really good players are poor managers and mentioned the others as examples along with Pearce.

  • Comment number 62.

    @JamTay1

    Your continued use of the word 'xenophobia' in the context of the Evra-Suarez incident undermines all of your arguments that Suarez was victimised. Xenophobia is defined as "an unreasonable fear or hatred of foreigners or strangers or of that which is foreign or strange" and as has been pointed out by numerous other posters that definition cannot seriously or realistically be applied to the way football is run and administered in England.

    As has been pointed out by others, the behaviour that Suarez demonstrated towards Evra was hardly of a role model nature (and to be fair the same could be said of Evra) and he was punished accordingly and in the process a strong message was sent out that this sort of behaviour is unacceptable. Suarez got a raw deal in the sense that he was probably less aware of what is and is not deemed acceptable on a football pitch in this country than some others and the guidance he subsequently received from his club's manager didn't help his cause (its now widely accepted by most neutral observers that the way in which Dalglish handled the situation did both player and club few favours). To put the xenophobia label on that set of circumstances just doesn't stand up to any kind of serious and impartial scrutiny.

    Also as someone who has spent some time in Argentina, Chile and Uruguay I can say that the definition of xenophobia I've written above applies very aptly to how many Uruguayans regard the population of Argentina.

  • Comment number 63.

    baggiosponytail @59

    I do think a lot of the top Premier League teams buy young talent for the wrong reasons.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I was just thinking the same.

    It would be interesting to see which clubs have had the most success when it comes to developing players via the loan system. I think it is reasonable to assume that clubs will not loan a player to a superior club, for the simple reason if the player could get into their team he need not be loaned out in the first place.

    As for your comment about loanees going to relegation clubs, I agree. I suppose the theory is to battle harden a player, get him used to playing under constant pressure. That's ok but it does work both ways, he can raise the level of the relegation threatened team or bring down the player to the level of the club he is loaned to, thus destroying his potential.

  • Comment number 64.

    baggioponytail @59

    As for how a team's style fits a loaned player. Some can, some can't adapt but i do feel that is the same for almost any age group. It is entirely down to the individual.

  • Comment number 65.

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

  • Comment number 66.

    Unaccepting*

  • Comment number 67.

    Great article, Tim! People in Uruguay really do care about getting the Olympic gold, and are desperate to win in. My friends and family back in Uruguay can't quite believe me when I tell them most people here are completely oblivious, even many football fans.

    Earlier today ran across two quite interesting articles about the 1924 and 1928 Olympics, and the contrast couldn't be greater. The football tournament really was a big deal back then:

    http://www.lacelesteblog.com/?p=6699
    http://www.lacelesteblog.com/?p=6714

    By the way, I was translating for a few Uruguayan journalists this weekend and they went to the training sessions (unfortunately, I was only allowed in for the Saturday one). I hear Lodeiro played his heart out on the last session yesterday. Would love to see him actually delivering, after promising so much for so long.

    PS - Could we please cut it out with the Suarez thing? I've got my own opinion, having read the report and knowing Uruguayan Spanish well enough to judge the evidence, but at this point, that ship has sailed. No one's changing anyone's mind any longer.

  • Comment number 68.

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

  • Comment number 69.

    felicitas @67

    Loderiro is one of a number of players to have shown much promise, as several of us have discussed earlier, I wonder if he too, moved far too soon in his career.

    For a player to have won the number of caps that he has, I find it puzzling that he has not actually played that much club football. Although I know he had an injury that kept him out for some time.

    He's still a young man with no miles on the clock and I would of thought the best is yet to come from him.

    Personally i am hoping to see Hernandez play a part in these games.

  • Comment number 70.

    Hi Tim

    great article, Uruguay i see have gained a lot of support recently and i think mainly down to their last world cup success,they have some great individual players that have come good at the same time.

    Can you advise us on the prospect of Man United's possible future transfer Lucas Moura, as the fee being reported seems quite large for a player unheard of say a year ago. I can only presume the deal is close as Ferguson has advised his interest, and this quite a rare thing to happen unless they ar ein advanced negotiations.

  • Comment number 71.

    Comment number 60.At 13:44 23rd Jul 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:
    58.At 13:24 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    ______________________

    Yeah completely agree, it's all about the "name" rather than the actual point they are trying to prove.

    As for society / football, again I'd disagree / agree with certain points. I think society is very much welcoming to foreigners, but I think there's always an under current of national pride that can be mistaked as xenophobic. Eg the newspapers during Euros / WC etc.
    ______________________
    Well I guess we can differ on the reasons, but what we can both agree on I'm sure is that the process, results, and motivations of the FA leave a lot to be desired!

  • Comment number 72.

    signori

    Can you advise us on the prospect of Man United's possible future transfer Lucas Moura,
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I am at a total loss to understand the logic of yet another winger or wide midfielder being a potential target of Utd.

    I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the Utd type of player being slanted towards width and how it has been that way for decades but this is bordering on insanity.

  • Comment number 73.

    72.At 15:04 23rd Jul 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    ________________________

    I think SAF is looking to bring in a ronaldo style player. You're right it is a bit odd, given how well valencia has played, and the fact he bought young last year, and still has nani. Maybe we'll sell nani to juve. Miffed how he's not grasping the need to get a combatitive holding midfielder before he buys anyone else.

  • Comment number 74.

    71.At 14:40 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    Well I guess we can differ on the reasons, but what we can both agree on I'm sure is that the process, results, and motivations of the FA leave a lot to be desired!
    _________________________

    I've said many times before that the FA are a bit of a joke. The problem with them, UEFA, FIFA etc is that they are in a position of privilege with little or no challenge to the way they function or make decisions.

  • Comment number 75.

    72.Londoner in exile returns

    I can only presume that Nani is going and that Fergie must think that he can play in a number of positions, because for me all over the park thats where Utd are strongest on the wing.

    Read today that we were in for De Rossi again.............i have everything crossed, but i doubt this to have any truth in it like last time sadly.........we'd have to get rid of someone mind unless we played him CB cover too....

  • Comment number 76.

    eduard & signori

    Yes it must mean the end for Nani at Utd, afterall they will certainly get a decent fee for him.

    But what i've seen of Lucas Moura, he is definitely not the type to help out in the areas needed. He is as direct as they come, will cut inside more often than not and yes good to watch when it's working for him but it's like playing with a man short when it's not going his way.

    I often feel that it is the same for all wingers or wide men, playing two in the same teams limits the team. It's ok when you can roll over sub standard opposition with a constant attacking threat but against really top opposition, it comes unstuck.

    But of course it is a Utd way and has been for decades. Most of their great successes have come when they have had a really exceptional wide man but they could also play elsewhere across the park. That is where i feel the current crop of wide men lets them down.

    Still for me being an observer and not a supporter, playing 2 wide men is partly responsible for what has made Utd a joy to watch for 50 odd years.

  • Comment number 77.

    76.At 15:51 23rd Jul 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    __________________________

    Not seen much of moura, may look tonight, but from the descriptions of his style, he sounds very much like a ronaldo carbon copy. I can see why SAF is trying to get this type of player, but he's still not replaced hargreaves / fletcher. This will be the 5th/6th season with no recognised DM in the team!

    Pointless having a creative flair player if there's no one to win the ball in the first place. I'd like SAF to put in a 20m bid for diarra and sahin.

  • Comment number 78.

    @ 77 eduard_streltsov_ghost

    I'm sure it's no coincidence that in recent years nearly all of the teams that have won the league have had a dominant central midfielder.

    Keane at Man Utd
    Viera at Arsenal
    Essien at Chelsea
    Toure at Man City

    Flair players are of course important but the players listed above are the ones a team expects to influence the outcome of the big games.

  • Comment number 79.

    77.At 16:07 23rd Jul 2012, eduard_streltsov_ghost wrote:
    76.At 15:51 23rd Jul 2012, Londoner in exile returns wrote:
    __________________________

    Not seen much of moura, may look tonight, but from the descriptions of his style, he sounds very much like a ronaldo carbon copy. I can see why SAF is trying to get this type of player, but he's still not replaced hargreaves / fletcher. This will be the 5th/6th season with no recognised DM in the team!

    Pointless having a creative flair player if there's no one to win the ball in the first place. I'd like SAF to put in a 20m bid for diarra and sahin.
    ________________________
    Well Ferguson seems to consider Carrick as a DM, although I tend to see him as someone who would play alongside a DM. Diarra (I assume you mean Lassana Diarra) would be a great fit at Old Trafford. Sahin career appears to have stalled at Real Madrid and if Modric arrives at the Bernabeu, then I think somebody will get a bargain.

    Of course Fergie may feel that playing 3 in the centre (as he often does is the big games) means that he does not have to have a specialist holding midfielder?

  • Comment number 80.

    78.At 16:24 23rd Jul 2012, BaggiosPonytail wrote:
    ________________________

    Exactly! When we won CL in 2007/08, hargreaves was in excellent form.

    79.At 16:31 23rd Jul 2012, JamTay1 wrote:
    _____________________________
    Sahin will be a bargain for whoever he signs. Kaka is still available for a price.

    "Of course Fergie may feel that playing 3 in the centre (as he often does is the big games) means that he does not have to have a specialist holding midfielder?" - Which is why he's been unable to beat barca in last few years.

  • Comment number 81.

    Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina are the tops sides in South America at the moment and possibly the ones that could stop Spain.

    I think thats why they are all taking quite strong squads for the Olympics.

    I am all for team GB and being an England fan and always wishing we had Giggs playing for us which could have made a massive difference at the time, and in todays game Gareth Bale would be a welcomed addition also. I think England would be extramely powerful if we added those 2 Welsh players, the other nations i really cant see any of them getting into the English squad.

    But this GB team is not anywhere near as good as it could be and seeing as though we are the host country i would have thought we would pull out all the plugs to get the best team out there.

    We really do not have alot of time to get this team playing to really compete for Gold, and teams like Urguay and Brazil have bigger agendas than just winning the gold, they are planning for the WC.

    SP for me is not really a manager, i think alot of unfair comments have been laid on him, but its really apparent that he is not really a coach, much more of a man manager and motivator.

    I hope team GB does well and we can suprise a few people, but it is not anywhere near what we could really produce if everyone over here would agree and get behind the Olympics.

    Petty politics and sectarian views spoil 22 men chasing a ball to win for 90 minutes.

  • Comment number 82.

    @81

    Small problem! Argentina are not taking a team as they did not qualify.

  • Comment number 83.

    Uruguay has a population of just 3.4M. This is crazy less than half of London (not greater london)

  • Comment number 84.

    @ 82 different paragraphs ;)

  • Comment number 85.

    I dont deny Uruguay's merit but they wouldnt be able to have the same success if the country was placed in Europe or another place in the world. They are just bewteen Brazil and Argentina, and i think that with such kind of neighbors want it or not you get very influenced. Like some kind of spillover over Uruguay's football.

  • Comment number 86.

    Talking about leaving the Suarez thing alone, shouldn't someone tell Ferguson?

    Or is he deflecting attention away from another fallow season of big transfer dealing? The love-in with the Glazers, the Suarez/Dalglish remarks, now the pretending to by Lucas. All seems a bit OTT, even for someone with nothing better to do than sup the holidays away.

  • Comment number 87.

    @84

    We'll let you off on a technicality. ;)

    Not sure how they missed out actually, South America limited to two participants? Who would have taken the place of the sham Team GB if they had done the right thing and not entered at all instead of doing so half-heartedly?

  • Comment number 88.

    @87

    I agree i think we should either put out a team that can really compete or do nothing at all. Its such a dodgy team in more than 1 respect.

    But the i will certainly be following Brazil this year as they are and and always be my favourtite football team,

    They looked very good against team GB but i am sure most sides would, i just cant understand how a nation such as ours can field such a weak team, did we forget we are the host nation???

  • Comment number 89.

    @86

    It's mind games and Fergie is the best in the business at them. Feel free to comment again after we win the league this year!

  • Comment number 90.

    90.

    Like last year.

  • Comment number 91.

    90.

    89 you mean.

  • Comment number 92.

    91.

    Yes.

  • Comment number 93.

    No matter what happens the historical imprint made by Uruguay cannot be denied or diminished: 2 Olympic gold medals when the Olympiad 'was' the world cup; 2 World Cups; 16 Copa America titles; 11 Libertadores at club level (that is the south American tournament for clubs); 6 intercontinental cups at club level (European champion against South American Champion). And it feeds the world greatest teams with players. Not bad for a small nation. Uruguay has other accomplishments besides football: the first country to free slaves in America; the first country to establish the 8 hour working day; the first country to allow woment to vote and to require a chair for pregnant women at work. Perhaps it seems trivial, but it was not so trivial at the time. More recently, the first country to legalize cannabis to be sold by the State. There is more. Uruguay is 95% European stock with a 95% literacy rate and 72 year life expectancy. It is considered a first world country in the third world by International living Magazine and one of the top 10 places to retire. education is free even at the University level and health care very affordable. It's football is a reflection of it's strong people, mostly descendants from Spanish, Italian, German, Swiss and British immigrants.

  • Comment number 94.

    Ireally dont understand why Man U are having problems in getting the players they wont.

    Last year their main target Was Snieder and he wouldnt go.

    This year it seems to be Lucas and RVP.

    I very much doubt RVP will go and is more likely to go abroad if he does leave, Lucas i am not sure, Man U have been over to see him play and must have being having negotiations for a while so that one is more likely if they decide to pay the fee.

    Man U were also after Moderic at some point and also Nasri and others.

    But non of them came....

    Why such a big club is not attracting the biggest names, if you compare Man U with the big clubs in Europe and the players they get Man U do seem to be the club that non of the stars really want to go to....

  • Comment number 95.

    @94

    I think every player does want to join Man United as they are the number one team with the most loyal fans, play the best attacking football and have the best manager.

    The problem is that these young players have their heads turned by agents who want them to go to City, Chelsea or Real Madrid and Barcelona who are just throwing cash around in an effort to buy trophies and henceforth offer obscene wages. Financial fair play rules doesn't seem to have this joke.

  • Comment number 96.

    *... have STOPPED this joke!

    And before anyone goes on about Barca bringing through players, it's years since they brought in a true star and they keep splashing out on £20m plus players... Don't get me started on the Ibrahimovic deal!!!

  • Comment number 97.

    95.At 20:09 23rd Jul 2012, Joan_Burton wrote:
    @94

    I think every player does want to join Man United as they are the number one team with the most loyal fans, play the best attacking football and have the best manager.

    The problem is that these young players have their heads turned by agents who want them to go to City, Chelsea or Real Madrid and Barcelona who are just throwing cash around in an effort to buy trophies and henceforth offer obscene wages. Financial fair play rules doesn't seem to have this joke.
    ---------------------------
    I agree they should join number one team Man Utd.

    Not Premier League Champions Man City
    Not European Champions Chelsea
    Not La Liga winners or most succesfull European team ever Real Madrid
    Or one of the greatest club teams of all time Barcelona.

    No, they should join number one team Man Utd because of their loyal fans who don't just sit there quietly eating Prawn Sarnies!

    Oh wait a minute, you were on a wind up! ;)

  • Comment number 98.

    @96

    Yep Dani Alves, David Villa, Masherano, Fabregas and Alexis Sanchez were just awful buys!

    When David Villa was curling in Barcelona's third in the Champions League Final just over 12 months ago, I can remember thinking what an awful buy he was!

  • Comment number 99.

    25 - makes the complaint that Uruguay are praised for what is essentially a counter-attacking style of play, while Brazil, especially under Dunga, were attacked for doing the same.

    I don't see any incoherence here. One of the great things about football is that it can be interpreted in different ways - we're all allowed to have our own views on which style is most pleasing on the eye.

    Personally, I favour a possession based game with plenty of midfield elaboration - as once upon a time Uruguay did so well. But with such a small population it is almost inevitable that these days they have to take a more pragmatic approach - in the early days when they played Brazil it was a game of near equals - Montevideo against Rio and Sao Paulo. Now it's 3 million against 200 million. As the article points out, Tabarez started off in 2006 with one idea in mid, was soon blown off course and has had to feel his way towards what works best - given the size of the population it's almost certainly been the best way for him to go.

    I don't think you should be upset by people attacking Brazil for the counter-attacking approach of recent times. It can be taken as a complement. People expect more from Brazil because of everything that Brazil represent in the game. And with all their tradition, with such an enormous population and only one real mass sport, I think people have a right to expect something more expressive and expansive.

  • Comment number 100.

    49 questions the absence of Pablo Cepelini from the Uruguay squad. No, I'm not surprised, and I wouldn't disagree with the coach's decision.

    Cepelini was part of the squad that qualified for the Olympics - the 2011 Under-20 side. But the 2009 Under-20s were far better, and also have two years more experience. Indeed, they make up the bulk of the squad, with only a couple of places available for the class of 2011.

 

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