Goals from Cavani and Stuani brought Uruguay back from the brink of disaster. Uruguay is no longer that team who will miss the World Cup, no longer that team who will see Venezuela leap-frog them in the standings. Uruguay now looks more like a team who are playing like a team and a team that wants to win.
And here Tabárez has to be applauded for fixing 2 to 3 things that were wrong with the team. Technically this is still the same team that lost a whole bunch of games last year but the mood is decisively different. Who knew that out of the 3 new players Tabárez capped for the Poland Friendly (Aguirregaray, Stuani and El Chori Castro) it would be Stuani who would change Uruguay’s luck. Lodeiro who had a solid game in that Poland friendly was absolutely dreadful against Colombia. Stuani picked up right where he left off against Perú and it may be that Tabárez may have found his new False 9. Does this mean Uruguay doesn’t need Forlán anymore? No, but it means Tabárez’ left-field picks ––and Stuani was about as far-left as you can get –– aren’t as crazy as we believe. Bringing in new personnel was important. Using the Confederations Cup as as mini-boot camp was also important. Combined, these two factors allowed Uruguay to rediscover the right temperament to employ in these qualifiers.
Before the game was even played, some in the press were hoping for a draw… a draw is perhaps the dirtiest of words. It’s a curse word. Given the circumstances though, a draw, given this opponent would’ve made sense. Yet this is a born-again Sky-Blue squad we’re talking about here. A draw wouldn’t have made sense, not with Venezuela hanging around like a vulture in the sky. And out of all the teams ranked 3 to 6, Venezuela is still the snake in the grass Uruguay needs to watch out for. Don’t trust them – keep winning, strangle them in their sleep. Tabárez has realized this. That 5th place spot to face what we now know will be Jordan had given Venezuela and Perú too much hope – Target Ecuador instead.
And this is precisely what’s going on. Uruguay’s 2-0 defeat of Colombia has allowed Uruguay to draw even with Ecuador on points, setting up a heavy-weight showdown on October 11th. Ecuador who came back from La Paz with a point is technically still in 4th place based on goal average but now have to face this streaking hot Uruguay. Not much separates 3rd place from 5th place. A draw outside of Bolivia is equal to a loss anywhere else. Right now Ecuador does not want to face Uruguay. Not this Uruguay that’s for sure.
Uruguay is still not out of danger. 5th place for now is still 5th place. To get to 4th, they have to take out Ecuador. A draw in that CONMEBOL sponsored armpit would mean Uruguay would need to win against Argentina on the last fixture to qualify directly, we all remember how that went last time around. Tabárez has to continue feeding the machine. They like to win now. The draw is the ugly girl at the dance, leave her where you found her and get back to winning.