Tag: Uruguay

World Cup 2010: Uruguay 1-1 Ghana (Uruguay Win 4-2 On Penalties)

If this isn’t the signature match of this World Cup, an absolute classic awaits. All the “total football” focus had been on Holland v Brazil but in the end only Brazil played like they did in 1974; while this… this match was total… everything. The streets of Ghana’s capital Accra are not as packed as Ned Boulting and ITV would have been hoping when they flew 3,000 miles to get there. Most of the locals are filmed showing two fingers to Boulting and his cameras and we are assured that this is a prediction of the scoreline, rather than an invitation to the patronising outsiders to foxtrot oscar. To be fair, Boulting, the panel and commentator Clive Tyldesley – immediately breaking his own first rule of commentary (“no bias”) – are just the right side of patronising throughout and the tension of the occasion has slowed Marcel Desailly down from Adebayor-ese to considered analysis. Tyldesley tell us “all of Africa” is behind Ghana, and what was lazy generalisation when Peter Drury said it before Ghana/USA turns out to be very true. It’s just an accident of timing that Tyldesley gives his “Uruguay v an entire continent” spiel as the cameras pan out over hundreds of empty seats in Soccer City itself. If the Ghana players are nervous early on, then they’re hiding it very…badly indeed. But the sense is...

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World Cup 2010: Uruguay 2-1 South Korea

Motty would never have done it. “Uruguay are the only team at this World cup yet to concede a goal,” declares a confident Jon Champion. I don’t know what the Portuguese for “oi, hang on a minute” is, but a lot of people are shouting it at the telly right now. Gareth Southgate has already told us that South Korea have entered what used to be exclusively African teams’ territory: “They were naïve defensively,” he says, adding “they gave away goals, naively,” just in case we’d missed it the first time. South Korea’s back four have nearly 250 caps between them and their average age is 30. Southgate is confusing naïve with “s***e”, as Uruguay’s opener partly confirms. Lee Young-Pyo, who was a Tottenham defender for a while so has an excuse for naivety, stands idly by as Luis Suarez nips in at the back post to nearly miss from six yards. It’s the goalkeeper’s fault for allowing Diego Forlan’s cross through his hands (and two weeks ago, they’d have been asking “was it the ball?”). But he gets away with it, until co-commentator Craig Burley sees the 19th replay, about 15 minutes later. “It’s goodnight and God bless,” intones Burley, keeping up the pundits’ habit of puzzling non sequiturs. Even Martin Keown might have said: “eh?” to that one. Suarez looks about a stone heavier than in the...

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World Cup 2010: Mexico 0-1 Uruguay

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.

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World Cup 2010: South Africa 0-3 Uruguay

Today is National Youth Day in South Africa. It marks the anniversary of the start of the 1976 Soweto riots, which began with the death of twenty-three people after the police opened fire on a protest in the township against the imposition of Arikaans in schools. The events of that day caused revulsion around the world – prompted in no small part by a horrific photograph of a dying child, twelve year-old Hector Pieterson, which flashed around the world – and sparked the consciences of many millions of people. It took almost two decades, but apartheid began to die that day. The ultimate sacrifice of those that died on the 16th of June 1976 (as well as many more before and afterwards) would lead to the freedom and salvation of the country. It is, therefore, utterly appropriate that the South African national team should play today, that football, the game of the oppressed under that wretched regime, should take the centre stage on this of all days. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the atmosphere at the Loftus Versfeld Stadium in Pretoria is thunderous. The South African team sing in the tunnel before the match, and the South African National Anthem rushes out of the speakers on the television. Seldom can it have been sung with such pride and such conviction. But can South Africa, who have the mother of home advantages this...

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World Cup 2010: Uruguay 0-0 France

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.

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