I’m mad and I’m not Mad…
If I were to perform a quick analysis, I’d say we wasted our chances of scoring. But I prefer to have a broader approach; let’s see why. Even if we did qualify for the World Cup, we wouldn’t have many chances of winning it because we’re restricting ourselves from greatness. I won’t get into the “anti soccer” bandwagon.
I’m mad because I don’t like for us to lose. On the other hand, I’ve always said I’m not a fan of this playing style based on the stigma that we Uruguayans are naturally inclined to throw erratic long passes. I won’t buy that theory, not now, not in a hundred years. I won’t support a playing style that I know won’t give me realistic chances of winning a World Cup, because then I’d be prostituting my ideas, I’d be getting on a bus driven by a blind man. And, well, if what happened today leads us to “copy some things from Chile” or any other national team or club using good judgment, then I’ll take it on the chin. I’ve seen teams improve like this in less than a year; we have more than ten behind us in this process and, though I do recognize its merits, I’d like to open a debate about its imperfections, such as the one previously mentioned.
Ever since I started watching modern football, the teams who win finals have always been those who retain possession of the ball with good judgment, who know what to do with the ball without having to resort to aimless kicks just to see what happens and wasting chances of creating actual opportunities. After all, it’s the ball you have to play with and the way you handle it is as important as the precision of the goal opportunities when facing a goalkeeper, which is something we’re good at but this match was incredibly the exception to the rule. We could have won with precision, but without the ball it’s hard to maintain a high enough level for 7 games, as the World Cup demands.
France, Brazil, Italy, Spain, Germany have been the champions since. Italy has the closest strategy to ours, similar approach, but where are our Pirlo, Totti, Del Piero? What are the chances that 1 in 5 could achieve that? I also see a lot of Europeans; is Brazil the only one representing South America? It’s time to change, to improve.
Let’s stop overestimating potential in South America with no actual evidence to show for it. We’re squandering the best group of players since the ‘50s. Godín, Josema, Suárez and Cavani are players that any team would be lucky to have, but we insist on using individual weight instead of surrounding them with a team that can strengthen their abilities, so we leave all the work to them, we expect them to solve all our problems and then, if we win, it will mean we are counter-attacking geniuses. We prefer to be Clark Kent instead of Superman and we flaunt our humility based on that, as contradictory as that sounds. I’m an agnostic but I will quote from the bible in this case: Jesus gave two men a mission; one of them said he’d do it but, in the end, didn’t; the other said he wouldn’t do it but did it after all. Which one of them was humbler or less foolish? Sometimes all that’s missing is to own up to our failures and work on them. Convictions can be more harmful than lies, so let’s be careful and question our assertions.
The greatness of a team does not lie in camouflaging their weakest points and asserting their strengths at any cost, but in the permanent search for harmony and self-improvement in all aspects that are make a difference. If the way to defeat us is to block our pillars, our destiny is already set in stone to our detriment. It’s too bad we must be beaten like this in order to react to certain things. I’d rather be proactive and not reactive. To anticipate events instead of reacting to them after they happen, when rearming is much more complex. I’m not being negative, neither am I when put on my seat-belt before driving; I’m considering the fact that there’s a possibility, however small, that I may have an accident and that this is the best precaution I can take. We’re not taking precautions now, we’re always one or two steps behind and we only develop new methodologies when things have already gone wrong, but this is where we were born, the country of “if you win, it’s all good, if you lose, it’s all bad”, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. We can only criticize when we are defeated, so well here goes this article. Though I insist, the points I’m making can be applied to any result. In regards to strategy we can agree that there are “common factors” among the most recent champions and I’d rather turn this argument in that direction, because I believe we’re capable of that.
We live in a gray country, lusterless, conformist, and yet sometimes extremist, where whatever worked must be repeated and only what didn’t work can be reconsidered; where everything’s right or everything’s wrong. It’s a pretty basic way to simplify reality, erroneously interpreting it. There are mentions of 25 cognitive biases that compromise our understanding of our environment and the key is that not every interrelationship is based on causation; the strategy to repeat isn’t always the one that worked. If I crossed the street with a red light and I wasn’t hit by an incoming car, does that mean that it was the right choice? One thing doesn’t imply the other. This is what I mean when I insist on analysis beyond the results, given that there are things to be learned from both mistakes and successes. A great mind once said: “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” Garry Kasparov said: “Losing can persuade you to change what doesn’t need to be changed, and winning can convince you everything is fine even if you are on the brink of disaster.” And this isn’t an apology of failure and demonetization of victory, but an invitation to develop theories and discuss them in order to improve them, trying to find the right METHODS to increase our chances of success, in the long and the short run. Let’s not turn “the journey is the reward” into a platitude. Let it be understood, I’m not suggesting fundamentalism or an utopia. I like to win, too, and I hate losing as much as you do. The tool is a means to an end, not an end itself, and I think we all want to see Uruguay win the World Cup in 2018, or at least having a chance to win it, right?
What has been improved? The players I will recommend come from my personal opinion, you can make your own recommendations. Another factor that comes into play is their particular present in their clubs, so if you read this in three months, my recommendations in regards to a specific player may change. We injected some youth by using Gastón Silva as a first- team player, though he’s not actually a full-back but a center-back; at least he adds pass accuracy. I’d prefer an Olaza, or Espino as a left full-back, someone who can climb tirelessly, who can go behind a forward and make passes, take long shots, etc. Same with the right full-back, how long are we going to keep Pereira? I think Alex Silva is a better choice. Vecino has been an improvement in midfield when it comes to distribution, handling of the ball, though Guzmán should be taken into consideration; it’s important for a holding midfielder to get close to the goalkeeper. Porras should also be considered, he is in my opinion, the best to combine tough marking, ball handling and making passes. If we’re going to play with two midfielders they must have as much technique as marking abilities. As for creativity, we’re sorely lacking; Pereiro, De Arrascaeta, Ramírez, Ignacio González (Danubio), “Nacho” from Wanderers, Kevin Méndez, Novick, Pereiro are some of the players who could come in handy.
Today, as many other days, we realize that “making passes” is not a deadly sin. We realize that a defender who tries to keep the ball on the ground is not bold, but reasonable. That a holding midfielder has to be dominant with the ball, a goalkeeper needs to have good ball handling while also being good with his feet. It’s true that isolated matches can be won by improvised attack, but our objective should be higher: aim for the top because the bottom is overcrowded.
In short, take this as the opinion of an Internet user who doesn’t specialize in communications or sports journalism and who doesn’t have the tactical knowledge of a soccer coach. As the saying goes, you have to walk the walk before you talk the talk. I’m just exercising my right to free speech and based on that, I respect all opinions that differ from mine, to each his own. Until next time.
Oringal Article: Un Bano de Humildad en el mar Rojo: By: NicoGF
Translated and Edited in English By: Xime Brum Proofreading: Alessandro_Vina