Saturday, November 20, 2010

Uruguay played their opening match againt Holland and the mystery was ‘solved’: there wasn’t any. The Celeste had no argument on the pitch. They were too slow even for brutality – the Dutch were far too quick to be reached by lethal tackles, and the match was really one-team show. Uruguay was clearly outdated team. They lost 0-2 and it is fair to say that the result was mostly due to the Dutch – if they did play to the full of their ability, it could have been much bigger humiliation for Celeste.
Perhaps a symbolic picture: Baudilio Jauregui hopelessly trailing Johan Cruiff. The Celeste were totally behind the total football of the Oranje.
The second match against Bulgaria was Uruguay’s ‘best’. It was their cup of tea… which made for perhaps the slowest and most boring game of the World Cup. Neither team had any idea what to do with this foreign object called ‘ball’. Clueless performance in walking tempo. The only miracle was that both teams scored at all, but if there is fairness in football – this ugly match ended fairly in 1-1 tie, for any other result would have been a mockery of the sport.
Before the third match Uruguay still had a chance to go ahead, although having only one point so far. Theoretically, if they won the match with Sweden, they were to go ahead, for Bulgaria standed no chance of extracting even one point from Holland. But reality has nothing to do with theory: once again the Europeans were too fast for Uruguay. The boys in sky blue shirts were entirely outplayed. 0-3 and the end.
It is still 0-0, but there was no doubt who was better: the Uruguayan defenseman is too slow in his effort to kick Sandberg. The Swede already axcelerated and left the South American in the dust.
Uruguay exited after pathetic playing. It was a team clearly stuck in the 1960s football and therefore easy prey for the new total football. It was a sad end for players like Mazurkiewicz, Cubilla, Rocha – major stars once upon a time, nobody noticed them in 1974. It was not only that their best days were somewhere in the 1960s – older players are rarely capable of adjusting to new kind of game – but more of a conceptual failure. The Uruguayan understanding of football did not take into acount the changes of the game, the new standards. Old boys were selected to play old style game… so old, that they became a laughing stock. Perhaps one can be sorry for Ladislao Mazurkiewicz – a great goalkeeper, voted among the 100 best keepers of 20th century – he deserved a better team at his last World Cup. As it was, Mazurkiewicz was not even noticed. The Celeste went home and nobody regretted that.