Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, Tabárez knows what he’s doing… after all, we qualified to the World Cup because of Tabárez and only Tabárez, since 2010, this is all we’ve heard. After that the Tabárez apologists like to throw in the word “proceso” for added measure – the youth team players that NEED TO BE CALLED UP are getting called up – case closed. And it all sounds fantastic, we were all happy when Valverde got his first call-up to the senior side, and when De Arrascaeta and Bentancur earned starts against Bolivia, the road to glory surely lies ahead. But while the results achieved allude to some kind of masterwork at hand, the truth is, as in previous qualifier campaigns, what we saw wasn’t easy on the eyes. Uruguay had to sweat blood & tears just to get in.

Valverde was promoted to the senior side and helped Uruguay win for the first time in Asuncion Paraguay in World Cup Qualification.

The truth is that the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers (at least for Uruguay) were the bastard lovechild of the 2014 World Cup and the 2015 Copa America. If you recall the 2014 World Cup gave us the 9 game ban on Suárez and the 2015 Copa America gave us the 3 game ban on Tabárez and the 2 game ban on Cavani. Uruguay exited both tournaments in shame. While Uruguay emerged from the 2015 Copa America defensively stingier, their offense went completely AWOL, in the absence of a star player like Suárez and then Cavani, the set-piece became the centerpiece upon which to build around. Carlos Sánchez earned a call-up precisely to deliver corner-kicks and provide free-kicks, Godín and Giménez thus became central to any plans to get Uruguay to Russia.

Carlos Sánchez, dead-ball specialist, was crucial early on.

In terms of team play, Uruguay didn’t really improve their game since their 2-0 loss to Colombia in 2014, but the psychological impact of losing Suárez in 2014 and then Tabárez and Cavani in 2015, forced the team to rally around the concept that FIFA and CONMEBOL were out to get them. This persecution complex led unexpectedly to some kind of team spirit.

There were other factors as well, both Ecuador and Chile’s meltdown down the stretch allowed Uruguay some much needed elbow room to move forward. Chile sputtered when their FA President Sergio Jadue resigned and fled to the U.S., leading to Sampaoli’s shock resignation, along with allegations that their Copa America had been bought. It was the kind of qualifier campaign where chaos ruled, and as Hedge Fund managers know, there’s opportunity in chaos. And so Tabárez cherry-picked which games he wanted Uruguay to show up in and which games to skip out on the check.

Uruguay’s 2018 WCQ campaign

10-08-2015 – Bolivia 0-2 Uruguay (Patricio Loustau/Argentinean Ref)
10-13-2015 – Uruguay 3-0 Colombia (Heber Lopes/Brazilian Ref)
11-12-2015 – Ecuador 2-1 Uruguay (Ricardo Marques/Brazilian Ref)
11-17-2015 – Uruguay 3-0 Chile (Wilmar Roldan/Colombian Ref)
03-25-2016 – Brazil 2-2 Uruguay (Nestor Pitana/Argentinean Ref)
03-29-2016 – Uruguay 1-0 Peru (Roddy Zambrano/Ecuadorian Ref)
09-01-2016 – Argentina 1-0 Uruguay (Julio Bascuñan/Chilean Ref)
09-06-2016 – Uruguay 4-0 Paraguay (Wilton Pereira Sampaio/Brazilian Ref)
10-06-2016 – Uruguay 3-0 Venezuela (Raul Orozco/Bolivian Ref)
10-11-2016 – Colombia 2-2 Uruguay (Nestor Pitana/Argentinean Ref)
11-10-2016 – Uruguay 2-1 Ecuador (Victor Carrillo/Peru Ref)
11-15-2016 – Chile 3-1 Uruguay (Enrique Caceres/Paraguayan Ref)
03-23-2017 – Uruguay 1-4 Brazil (Patricio Loustau/Argentinean Ref)
03-28-2017 – Peru 2-1 Uruguay (Julio Bascuñan/Chilean Ref)
08-31-2017 – Uruguay 0-0 Argentina (Victor Carillo/Peru Ref)
09-05-2017 – Paraguay 1-2 Uruguay (Sandro Ricci/Brazilian Ref)
10-06-2017 – Venezuela 0-0 Uruguay (Anderson Daronco/Brazilian Ref)
10-10-2017 – Uruguay 4-2 Bolivia (Ricardo Marques/Brazilian Ref)

Refereeing played a big part in Uruguay’s qualification campaign. With Brazilian Referees blowing the whistle, Uruguay compiled a 4-1-1 record, which included the egregious Sandro Ricci giving Uruguay their first ever win at Asuncion. With Argentinean Referees, Uruguay won 1 match, drew 2 and lost one, Patricio Loustau gave Uruguay their epic win in La Paz but also presided over Uruguay’s most horrible loss (4-1 to Brazil at home).

The Chilean Julio Bascuñan (left) and the Argentinean Nestor Pitana (right) – Uruguay failed to win a single match with these two blowing the whistle.

Uruguay failed to win a single match when the Chilean, Julio Bascuñan, was blowing the whistle, and actually fared better with other CONMEBOL designated referees (Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru and Colombia) were blowing the whistle, with these referees, Uruguay notched 4 wins.


Uruguay’s home loss to Brazil was the most lopsided loss during this campaign. Add Uruguay’s loss to Argentina – Uruguay, despite having a numerical advantage lost this match– can also be seen as a negative, the most anemic performance involved their 3-1 loss to Chile in Santiago where Uruguay’s defense like their offense during the 2015 Copa America went mysteriously AWOL.

But outside of those losses to Brazil, Argentina and Chile, the biggest negative was the slow rise to action. Tabárez had been flirting with making renovations since 2015, kept looking towards his veterans for a way out. De Arrascaeta is a prime example, a player he had taken to the 2015 Copa America but continued to exclude in favor of Nicolás Lodeiro or Gastón Ramírez. Other players have been excluded altogether like Diego Polenta or now Lucas Torreira.

Instant Garra is gonna get you – Lucas Torreira, notable exclusion.

There is no rhyme or reason for Tabárez’ call-up policy. What was supposed to be a fluid youth-team to senior side transition became stagnant. Tabárez instead opted for more “Europeanized” players like Stuani and waiting on Lodeiro or Ramírez to recover their forms.

Suárez Returns and so does El Equipo De Memoria

When Suárez returned for the pivotal match against Brazil in 2016, Uruguay had managed 3 wins without him, team spirit had re-emerged, with all the pieces in place they managed to annoy Brazil with a 2-2 draw. Tabárez then masterminded a 1-0 win over Peru, Uruguay were undefeated at home. And then came the disaster of the Copa Centenario, despite a joke group, Uruguay with an injured Suárez (who didn’t play a single game in the Copa Centenario) were once again revealed to be a slow plodding side, unable to move forward unless Suárez was in the lineup. Mexico and then Venezuela got easy wins over Uruguay while Uruguay’s frustration was highlighted by Suárez hitting a pane of plastic in disgust, the 3-0 win over Jamaica came too little too late.

Suárez shows off his frustration.

Once the Qualifiers got going again, Uruguay were still the same dreadful side that couldn’t string 3 passes in the Copa Centenario, Argentina with a man down was able to get a hard fought 1-0 win over Uruguay, but then an embarrassing loss to Chile in Santiago confirmed that the skeletal remains of that horrible Copa Centenario side remained, in fact, a new Equipo De Memoria had been formed, extremely dependent on Suárez.


By and large though, Uruguay’s 2018 WCQ can be seen as mostly positive, 9 wins in qualification is nothing to sneeze at, that’s the most wins from a Uruguayan side since CONMEBOL went away from the group qualification format and introduced everyone playing a home and away series. Less draws – unlike previous campaigns, Uruguay only had 4 draws, with 3 being away draws. At the end of the day Uruguay compiled 9 wins, 4 draws and 5 losses, 31 points in total.

Problems going forward

Qualification revealed that Brazil is once again a contender to win it all with CONMEBOL’s favoritism of Argentina being comically transparent, in this climate, Uruguay will go to Russia as an afterthought. Immediately after the win over Bolivia, Tabárez announced he wasn’t going anywhere and why should he, based on results his record looks impressive but… Tabárez waited far too long to incorporate new players like Valverde, Bentancur, Nández and even De Arrascaeta.

Tabárez, the big brain on campus, failing health aside, masterminded 9 wins and 4 draws – notching 31 points for his troubles.

All throughout the qualifiers, the one formation Tabárez preferred was his trusty 4-4-2, which doesn’t compliment these newer players. Is there a plan to shy away from Uruguay’s default formation? Suárez’ injury woes given his age are a concern, Tabárez’ own health problems can’t be ignored, is there a plan in place to replace Tabárez should his health take a turn for the worse?

Diego Aguirre, seen here with Tabárez circa 1987 has been tabbed as the heir apparent, but is he? Is there a plan to replace Tabárez?

Is Aguirre a realistic candidate or should Fabián Coito take over the reigns? Coito’s mishandling of Amaral in the Under-20 World Cup led to Uruguay under-performing in that tournament, its easy to forget that Uruguay were heavy favorites to win it all, after all Uruguay had won the South American Youth Championship for the first time since 1981, but they didn’t, should we consider other candidates even foreign ones like Rafael Dudamel? Its unlikely there is a plan to replace Tabárez even if his health goes south. Tabárez has become an institution and its uncool to even question his tenure and why should we? As long as Tabárez is still operating above room temperature, Uruguay is in the World Cup and isn’t that the only thing that matters?

Yorugua Yorugua 12 like

Martín Silva, Martín Campaña,
Diego Godín, Sebastián Coates, José María Giménez, Maximiliano Pereira, Gastón Silva, Martín Cáceres, Guillermo Varela,
Matías Vecino, Federico Valverde, Rodrigo Bentancur, Álvaro González, Carlos Sánchez, Cristian Rodríguez, Nahitan Nández, Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Jonathan Urretaviscaya, Nicolás Lodeiro,
Gastón Pereiro, Cristhian Stuani, Maximiliano Gómez y Edinson Cavani.


Why always these goalies? I would think Uru has better/younger ones.
Plus = Varela, Valverde, Bentancur, De Arrascaeta, Pereiro and no Rios.
Min = Mono, Tata, Cebolla, Lodeiro and no Alejandro Silva and no Torreira.
But hey, we got another chance in January in the China Cup, two games against or China, or Wales or Serbia.
Who knows?


hope we get wales.. we would get to see el mono marking bale..

Che Pibe

I like the inclusion of Guille Varela for these friendlies. It at least shows that Tabarez recognizes the desperate need for new blood at right back. Fingers crossed he actually plays.

And no Arevalo-Rios! God willing, we’ve seen the last of him. Thank you for your service, my friend, but it’s been long since time to pick out a retirement home.


In fact we need more backup for left back, otherwise caceres will need to go there which by no means is a good decision as we wont have him where he is suitable for. Saracchi & olaza could fix that. They can attack.


olaza is a very long shot.. he’s had shoulder surgery recently.. that would set him back at least 3 months.. and considering he hasn’t played a single minute on the NT, i don’t see it feasible..
i do like saracci.. a former winger for danubio.. similar skill-set as what ale silva would give you on the right, but ya’ll know el viejo.. he doesn’t really like this attacking nonsense..
i have also mentioned laxalt before, a player that has been phased out in recent call-ups.. he would also give you a left-mid or a left winger if you needed it..


oh crap, that really explains it. From OWT himself.

Listen to 4:35 to 4:50.


Translation please? This guy is always mumbling, even too lazy to properly articulate.
I love this carrito! Is it Tabarez bringing his domestic animal to the dentist?


Oh, now I see it, it’s the housemaid in disguise!


Sorry forgot we aren’t all Spanish background.

He said he hates when he hears players being asked for the national team because it means you are asking for someone to get kicked out. So he gives the incumbents more minutes to prove themselves. No shit.


Dutchy, he is smuggling Rios into the world Russia. 🙂

I do love Rios. The guy doesn’t get the credit he deserves for Sth Africa. But… But, it’s over.


The first thing you should be able to as a manager is to say goodbye to someone, even if you personally fell in love with the type. So already in 1989 he was incompetent for the job! Why did the AUF select him to begin with?


Sometimes it’s valid. The newer video clips was showing people wanted el pelado out after a few bad games in the 2010 qualifiers. Pelado has gone on and continues to be one of our best players. Thing is we want him to give young kids a chance even if they struggle. That’s good management. Not the 35 yr old who’s done.


ahahaha.. this is too good.. it’s like he’s saying: “i’m taking my old dogs and there ain’t a fucking thing you can do about it..”
how much you wanna bet that mono and arevalo have minutes against poland?
better yet, who wants to have a wager that tata and cebolla get a call even though they haven’t played an official minute in a month due to the strike in uru-football..?

@kanga.. the criticism on caceres was justified.. he didn’t even have a club.. bad moments happen in all players.. the national team ain’t the place to work yourself into shape or out of a slump.. there’s too much at stake.. and, oh the beauty of it.. it is an ever-so-powerful super-club.. it’s like a PSG.. you can have anybody.. ALL players are available.. tabarez used to do the same with el cebolla, after he was terminated from the A. madrid.. the dude was looking for a club to play but he would still get caps for uruguay.. that is ridiculous..

Plaga, the critism itself over pelado was justified. But also the old man was proven right. The two aren’t mutually exclusive.

It’s hard to be a coach, you’ll get some right some wrong.

What I want is for guys who obviously have no place being in the team being let go.


My example is at present (who knows in 6 months) cebolla and maxi would seem to have roles to play. So if they go I get it. But Rios and Tata have no roles to play. Currently it would be insane for either to go and leave excellent younger players out. But cebolla and maxi, I personally wouldn’t lose my mind at OWT.


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