My first memories of Uruguay as football team – and quite possibly of their existence as a country at all – came from the World Cup in 1986. They were in Scotland’s group then, and were portrayed as thugs, a bunch of big cheating, spoiling, fouling, cynical bruisers who would – if the ref let them – hack Scotland’s magnificent collection of creative wizards out of the tournament. In the event, of course, Scotland did get some help from the ref; Uruguay played the last 89 minutes with ten men, but a Scotland side who had in any case already lost to Denmark and Germany weren’t good enough to break them down.
Game two then, and after all the discussion of squad selections and line-ups, we’ve already had a look at ITV’s opening performance and it’s time to see what the BBC’s much-vaunted team can do. Given all the hype that accompanies even a Europa Cup Group phase game these days, or a game to decide who finishes fourth in the league, Lineker’s opening gambit here was an endearingly BBC-ish understatement: “The World Cup. Football tournaments don’t come much bigger.” You don’t say.
It should come as no great surprise to any seasoned FIFA watchers that the entire history of the organisation has been about its politicking, and still less that this has frequently extended itself into...
The 19th FIFA World Cup kicks off in nine weeks today, and as such Dotmund continues his almost-in-depth look ahead to this summer’s festivities. Today is the beginning of his preview of each of the eight groups, having been sent foraging for facts on the internet with only his trusty huge mackerel baguette for company. Predictably enough, we start with Group A.