Uruguay’s call-up list for the Spain friendly was announced early in the week, not really a news worthy story by any stretch of the imagination, the call-up list confirms that things will continue as is, and on some level, we all know the more things SHOULD change the more they’ll eventually stay the same…
Yet despite El Maestro’s best intentions to roll out his tried and tested “Equipo De Memoria” Ad nauseam, his proactivity will be challenged a bit… just a bit. It is Spain we’re facing after all and not The Leonid and Dimitri Brothers Eastern European Furniture Moving Company. It’s Spain dammit, best national team in the planet; European Champions in 2008 and 2012… World Cup winners in 2010, well you know this already, they won everything under the sun and then some.
This is the game El Maestro has been playing in his head since 2010. Since the hand of Suarez and subsequent red-card ruled Suarez out for the 2010 World Cup semifinal. In a perfect world, if Uruguay had all their pieces for the match against Holland: Suarez, Fucile & Lugano, who knows what could’ve happened? Maybe Uruguay would’ve gotten past the Dutch and faced Spain and then who knows? And then the Paraguay vs Spain 2010 match exists to give El Maestro three years worth of the night terrors. Would, a defensively sounder Uruguay been able to defeat Spain in the 2010 final? Who knows… too many what if scenarios here. Holland tried despite Howard Webb’s buffoon-like help and nothing doing, Spain won the match in extra time.
Returning to 2013, returning to Tabárez, it’s a preliminary list of course, some players like Forlán may not be available once the final list is drawn up. In Forlán’s case, Internacional do Porto Alegre now coached by Dunga, has stated that Forlán should sit this one out and maybe stay in Brazil. Strange that maybe it’ll be Forlán who sits this match out (maybe, who knows what will happen?), the last time Uruguay played a friendly with Spain, was way back in 2005, back when Fossati was the manager, a strange August friendly, which Uruguay didn’t take seriously, using it as an opportunity to make 6 substitutions, bringing on Marcelo Tejera after 10 years of non-call-ups, it was a different era back then. Players who looked good in Uruguay’s Primera were considered and taken to Gijón, where the match was played. But Forlán and Pérez played in that match and so did Gonzalo “Chori” Castro. That was Castro’s first call-up, back when he was a dynamic Nacional player… it took him a while to crack a Tabárez coached side, this is in-fact only his third call-up in six years!
So there is that, a sense that maybe Forlán not playing means that El Equipo de Memoria is finally forced to age and the substitutions won’t be pronounced, they’ll sort of just happen and before anyone notices, we’ll all be asking ourselves, “How did so and so become a starter?”
And lets give the Old Man the benefit of the doubt, there were some notable additions, although not the kind that will set the world on fire, but Alejandro Silva got his first cap on the senior side, that’s good… right? Who knows if he’ll play, but change is coming… the fact that Castro got a second call-up is admirable. Slowly El Equipo de Memoria is giving way to change. This kind of change is good, sure it’s not great, won’t induce us to do cartwheels but there is hope… I think?
Ultimately this is Spain we’re talking about, a match Tabárez has played and replayed in his head. Sure maybe if Tabárez owned an Xbox 360 or a PS3, he wouldn’t be so over-reliant on the Equipo de Memoria but what are you going to do? Tabárez is old school… and isn’t in a hurry to show all of his cards, he knows we’ll face Spain again in the Confederations Cup, this friendly is only a dress rehearsal to the main event later this year.
Uruguay’s back-line shouldn’t undergo too much change, Mono, Lugano, Godín and Cáceres, supported by a double midfield pivot of Pérez and Arévalo-Ríos. And then it depends on what happens between now and February, does El Maestro continue with Lodeiro who had one of his best games in a Sky-Blue shirt against Poland or does he go with Ramírez? There’s Cebolla to consider as well. No longer playing with a lead foot on the accelerator, Cebolla has become more reliable, reborn as a hybrid midfield holder/poor man’s playmaker, will he get a start? Upfront, whether Forlán plays or not, Cavani and Suárez will start.
Life without Forlán does have its disadvantages… while Suárez is Uruguay’s best player, he and Cavani have to start developing a working telepathy as far as the offense goes. London was not easy on the eyes, it was English Breakfast throw-up at best, maybe Lodeiro is the key here, maybe it’s Lodeiro WITH Ramírez? But then what about Cebolla? And of course, Álvaro González exists to throw a monkey wrench into any XI this Blog can conjure up.
At the end of the day it’s just a friendly, nothing more, nothing less… It’s Spain though. SPAIN… Holy Shit, we’re playing SPAIN!