Cue in “Staying Alive” by the Bee Gees… Uruguay is still alive, still in it, the suffering continues… say what you want about the South American World Cup Qualifiers, they drag on too long, there’s way too much biased refereeing, referees get bribed, heck even teams get bribed (Peru ?) but even with these distracting truths, the CONMEBOL qualifiers are the most exciting in the planet, think about it, there are 3 to 4 teams battling for a 5th place spot, a 5th place spot!!!... Could anyone have predicted that Ecuador would leapfrog over Uruguay 3 months ago? and then Argentina? What the hell is going on in South America… but this is by far the most entertaining qualifier tournament since the 2002 World Cup qualifiers. That Uruguay is still in the hunt is amazing considering how horrible Uruguay has been, Uruguay will face Ecuador next and the last two games will not be for the faint of heart, but welcome to South American World Cup Qualifying!
Uruguay is back in sixth place, while Argentina slipped to fifth place, this despite having the best player in the world, Leo Messi… unbelievable; the Uruguay vs Argentina match is projected to be the most savage clásico played in a while… but before we can even contemplate how that game will be, Uruguay has to go to Quito and take care of Ecuador who walked in all “loosey-goosey” into La Paz and got a 3-1 win. Its too bad The famous Argentinean magician Tu Sam is dead, maybe he could have hypnotized Uruguay to pull the same trick Ecuador pulled today on Bolivia… but “boludeces” aside, if Uruguay plays as hard as they did today, anything is possible.
The Colombia Match
What about Uruguay? Alvaro “Palito” Periera was the man of the match in my opinion, the game was an all around mess (too many negatives, see below comments) but Palito’s play in the second half changed the tempo and enabled Uruguay to pull out one of those “gut-it-out” wins, almost as satisfying as the Paraguay win earlier this year… The Palito cross to Scotti was a little gem, why Tabarez has buried this guy as a Left Back when he belongs upfront is beyond me, clearly its time to reconsider Cebolla not playing as your left wing and playing him more in an enganche position (maybe?) but Palito did all the hard work in the second half… truly a four star performance from Palito. And yes I did celebrate when “Big Mouth” Eguren scored, how could you not? It was a classic exclamation point goal to a well earned win against a strong Colombian opponent who kept growing as the game progressed.
Alvaro Pereira, with the ejection of Valdez and then the Colombian defender Gutierrez, Palito moved up front along with Cebolla, the last 20 minutes, Pereira & Forlan won the game for Uruguay.
Precise Substitutions… this time “Mr.Magoo” (thank you AndPandS) was paying attention and was Fossati-like in his substitutions, taking out Cavani who fumbled a whole bunch of easy passes, but why Cavani was even playing as a right wing begs an explanation from Tabarez… the kid was completely out of his element — the ejection of Valdez forced Tabarez into action, so he brought out Scotti, whose header in the 2nd half gave Uruguay the 2-1 lead after Colombia had managed the temporary game-time draw. “Mr. Magoo” then brought out everyone’s favorite Uruguayan, Sebastian Eguren whose “stumble-while-I-walk” goal even forced me to go bat-shit and scream my lungs out in celebration.
Diego Forlan—clearly brought some much needed leadership to a squad that has been drifting into oblivion, his pass to Eguren was classic… only negatives are the usual Forlan negatives, too much passing the ball back, too many passes that miss their mark, but the guy put the team on his shoulders and maybe the whole country’s World Cup aspirations when clearly someone needed to do that.
Juan Castillo, allowed a header from Jackson Martinez, which showed why you need a taller goalkeeper, Castillo is too short, Martinez towered over Castillo and Castillo keeps doing all those frustrating bush-league plays like toying with the ball and then picking it up before the Colombians got to the ball. The camera at one point showed El Maestro’s reaction and clearly El Maestro did not like it either. I don’t recall Carini for all his faults ever engaging in game time stupidities like that.
Carlos Valdez, horrible & unnecessary tackle against a Colombian player that could paralyzed the player had it been launched a second or too earlier… clearly a neanderthal 80’s type defender in the Jose Batista mold, unless Uruguay likes to play a man short all the time, Valdez and players like him (Godin) should be excluded from future squads.