Uruguay's Secret Weapon
By Analia Sordi
The first phase of the World Cup will not be a simple task for Uruguay with England, Italy and Costa Rica as their rivals. The favorites of the group are Italy and England but with talents like Suarez and Cavani, Uruguay is not being overlooked. However, the recent international success Uruguay has achieved has not come in the hands of Suarez or Cavani but in the hands of the Maestro Oscar Tabarez.
Uruguay had a brilliant performance at the World Cup of South Africa 2010, then a year later Uruguay, won the Copa America championship in Argentina. These recent successes are thanks to the selection process of “Maestro Tabarez”. Uruguay has always been a country that produced talented soccer players but for 15 years it has failed to succeed in international competitions. Since Tabarez has been in charged the following has occurred,
1) For 20 years (since Italy '90) Uruguay had not won a match in a World Cup.
2) Since the defeat to Brazil in the semifinal of 1970, Uruguay totaled just one win in 16 World Cup matches, and in 2010 at South Africa, Uruguay won three in a row.
3) It had been 56 years (from Switzerland '54) that Uruguay did not win two games in a row at the World Cup.
4) Since 1954, Uruguay had not won a game by more than 2 goals difference, Until the 3-0 to South Africa.
5) It had been since Switzerland ‘54 that Uruguay had not ended first in the group phase.
6) Since 1954, Uruguay had not been undefeated in the group stage.
7) For the first time ever in 2010 the host of the World Cup was eliminated in Phase 1, and Uruguay was the only side to defeat South Africa.
8) It had been 56 years that Uruguay did not win an elimination game in the 90th minute. The last time was in Switzerland ‘54 against England.
In all of the great accomplishments Tabarez has achieved, the greatest one is the group dynamic. Uruguay’s national team is often referred as a humble group of friends. In the process of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup at South Africa, Tabarez discarded footballers that were “conflicted”. Tabarez was criticized and questioned if excluding high-caliber players because of disciplinary problems was going to cost Uruguay in the 2010 World Cup. Time has demonstrated that Tabarez took the right actions and Uruguay’s secret weapon is the group dynamic.
If Uruguay’s collective qualities and manager are not enough to make their rivals worry. Then the two Europeans side should also keep in mind that history tells the story of European teams not performing well in tournaments played in South America.
History is always being rewritten and despite what the statistics demonstrate, both European sides are strong. Italy, after a lot of criticism, has demonstrated maturity and has rediscovered its style of play and England is the most decorated team. Costa Rica is the underdog of the group and Uruguay has a manager, which values a player’s humbleness as much as their talent.