So the moment of truth finally arrived, Uruguay faced Spain –– at long last we were able to ascertain what Uruguay’s true football level is. And the answer is… well… umm can I get back to you on this one? Seriously though – we can sugarcoat it all we want but Uruguay is nowhere near Spain. That much was established by Spain’s 3-1 win over Uruguay.
Of course friendly matches are simply that – contests which in the grand scheme of things, really mean nothing. The opponent was Spain and that’s important, but despite the loss, this game does serve a purpose, it lets Uruguay, not just the national team coach and players but also the country and supporters know what Uruguay is capable of and what they’re not.
Uruguay will never be Barcelona, just like Spain will never be Barcelona. El Maestro’s game plan has to be commended. Uruguay tried to stay afloat, passing the ball, attempting to pass the ball, keeping up with Spain who was without Xavi Hernandez and Xabi Alonso. Still they didn’t miss a beat because well… they’re Spain.
The first half was a fine display of football, not just from Spain who always give you a superb level of technical, flawless football but also from Uruguay who came back after Cesc Fabregas scored on Muslera in the 15th minute of play. Where the game suffered was in the second half, where these types of “friendly” contests usually suffer; excessive substitutions, lazy passing, etc. And somewhere in the second half, Spain just seemed more technically proficient in their execution. While Uruguay seemed to be suffering from jet-lag and were a bit starstruck because well… it’s Spain.
Fabregas was instrumental for Spain, Mister Chip, that fine source of mindless statistical data, offered that Fabregas now has 22 assists & 12 goals for Spain in 76 appearances, one of those assists gave Pedro his second which essentially sentenced the game –– After that, Uruguay were not coming back.
But there is hope on the horizon for Uruguay, you didn’t come away with the sense that Uruguay will never defeat the likes of Spain… no, the hope is that Tabarez at long last has cast aside the ridiculous over-estimation of draws. While draws provide just as much raw data as a win or a loss, Uruguay 2010- 2011 had become a dull uninspired side in 2012 by settling for draws throughout the year.
The Poland friendly was a positive start but there were positives seen in the Spain friendly as well, El Maestro brought on Forlan near the 70 minute mark, which serves as some type of indication that maybe things are changing for Uruguay’s national team. Now should Forlan be starting or not, well it depends on who you ask, if you ask me, I’ll tell you… no. If you ask somebody else, who knows, their opinion is probably more generous. But besides Forlan, players were brought on, El Chori Castro and Aguirregaray got some game time, and Alvaro Pereira didn’t –– this is good, no not because I think Palito is bad, I think he’s decent to a certain extent, but his inclusion in a starting eleven means Caceres or Cebolla would have been sacrificed. Clearly at this point, Tabarez has to continue with Cebolla and Caceres in his future XIs.
It’s the other positions which now seem a little worrying. Yes the playmaker, whoever that should be, continues to be an afterthought for a Tabarez drawn eleven –– the double-pivot which now includes Alvaro Gonzalez for reasons best left explainable only to Tabarez and the aging shell of what used to be Diego Perez is now a make-shift hope for the best defensive whatever. Add Diego Godin to the shit-pile too if you want and suddenly though, Uruguay seems far removed from the side that challenged for a semifinal spot in the 2010 World Cup and the side that won the 2011 Copa America.
To be fair though, Godin was not really a part of that 2011 side, Coates was. With regards to Coates however, this seems to be out of El Maestro’s control. Realizing however that the future lies with Cavani and not Forlan’s tired show is the correct move. Sure, only time will tell if WCQ games will be won with Cavani in the forefront –– but it’s a move he had to make.
Spain won 3-1 but Uruguay may yet show signs of life, something nobody in 2012 could argue.