What’s The Matter With… Uruguay’s latest golden generation?
Uruguay have been plotting a path back to the peak of world football in recent years, with a fourth-place finish in the 2010 World Cup followed by a glorious triumph in the 2011 Copa America.
Yet, somehow the same side responsible for these achievements currently finds itself two points outside the qualifying play-off position for next year’s World Cup, even with Brazil not taking part as they are guaranteed a spot as tournament hosts.
After the glories of their Copa America success the future looked bright for La Celeste, with a South American World Cup around the corner, yet they find themselves on a six-match winless streak in qualifying for the tournament, even if they did defeat France in their latest friendly.
In recent years Spain and France have made light of the idea that national teams have a short shelf-life with consecutive tournament wins, but in the history of the international game they are exceptions to the rule.
Uruguay have an ideal mix of experience and youth in their squad to be effective in the here and now, with veteran and all-time leading scorer Diego Forlan lining up alongside Luis Suarez up front and 22-year-olds Gaston Ramirez and Sebastian Coates already long term fixtures in their squad.
However, while an ageing player pool isn’t to blame for their current problems, it may that their manager’s tactical approach has grown stale, with manager Oscar Tabarez in charge since 2006.
France and Spain were led to their watershed trophies by Aime Jacquet and Luis Aragones before new brooms Roger Lemerre and Vincente Del Bosque arrived to infuse their machineries with the oil of new ideas and it could be that other managers have merely worked Uruguay out.
Furthermore it’s far from impossible that a nation whose footballing psyche is so entwined with the cult of the underdog after those long ago upset World Cup wins has struggled when cast in the unfamiliar role of favourites.
With Brazil removed from the CONMEBOL qualifying shark pool, things appeared to be straight forward for the reigning South American champions, yet even with the one of their chief rivals eliminated from the equation they remain reliant on slip ups from other nations if they are to reach next year’s World Cup.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.