Copa Wars – The Return of UruguayPosted: July 29, 2011
A not so long time ago before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, if you asked anyone about Uruguayan footballers not many people would be able to reply with more than one or two players, the main two players in the World’s eyes being ex Manchester United and current Atlético Madrid striker Diego Forlán, and then Ajax captain and now Liverpool forward Luis Suárez.
However, fast forward one year after their impressive run in the World Cup, reaching the semi-finals, crashing out to runners up, Holland, in a game which finished 3-2, and they are now the newly crowned kings of South American football after winning the Copa América after defeating Paraguay in Buenos Aires.
This is article will look at the resurgence of the Uruguayan national football team after all the years of mediocrity it has suffered and will also look at how the nation looks like it may be a serious contender in South American and maybe even world football competitions in the future.
Due to Uruguay not really making their mark on modern football, it often shocks people that during the early-mid 20th century they were one of the big teams in world international football, especially between the 1920’s and 1950’s. Ask anyone non football nerd, who do you think is the most successful South American nation in terms of Copa Américas won and the obvious names would be mentioned in reply; Brazil… Argentina… But, they would be wrong. In fact, the most successful team is Uruguay. Their latest Copa win notches them up to 15 titles, one more than this years hosts, Argentina, and more than Brazil who have won 8 titles.
Not only have they been successful in South America, they have also been World Cup champions on two occasions, in 1930, when Uruguay hosted the tournament, and in 1950. They have also been Olympic Gold Medalists twice in the 1924 Olympics in France and then again in the 1928 Olympics held in the Netherlands. On the team’s crest there are four stars, two represent the two World Cup wins and the other two represent the Olympic games wins which were very prestigious honours at the time.
Despite this success, it seemed to die down in the 1960’s. They have still won the odd tournament but not at the same consistency as they did in earlier years, and they haven’t made any notable challenge for the World Cup until the most recent one.
Which brings me to why I believe that this group of players could help Uruguay return to their former glory and can compete for more Copa América and World Cup glory. There seems to be an increased number of young Uruguayan players who are making an impact all over Europe. The biggest name out of these being Luis Suárez, who has been a huge factor in the turnaround in fortunes for Liverpool in the Premier League under Kenny Dalglish.
Diego Forlán is the joint top scorer of all time alongside Héctor Scarone for Uruguay, however, with him being 32, it would be safe to say he will not be in the first team plans much longer. The good news for Uruguay is the he will most likely be replaced by Napoli’s Edinson Cavani, who scored for fun last season in Serie A, netting 26 times.
Another up and coming attacking talent is 20 year old Abel Hernández who also plays in Serie A for Palermo.
As well as having attacking talent, they also have some very talented defenders in Atlético Madrid’s Diego Godín, Nacional’s Sebastián Coates and Sevilla’s Martin Cáceres. It would also be rude to miss out the goalkeeper, Fernando Muslera, who was impressive throughout the competition and pulled off some stunning saves in final, especially when the game was still at 1-0.
The world is now starting to take notice of Uruguay as a footballing nation once again and based on how they have done at the past two major tournaments, they definitely look a threat for the future.