Uruguay and Argentina have a unique football history which started in 1901 when they first played each other. The game was held in Montevideo and Argentina won 3-2 which was both countries first international. This result could have set a precedent for the future however it provided an opportunity to physically, tactically and technically find a way to beat Argentina when the important games came around.
In Uruguay’s history Argentina is very prevalent as we also played them in 1902 to receive our biggest loss in the history of the Uruguayan National team… we lost 6-0 in Montevideo. Soon however the real games would be played between Uruguay and Argentina…
In 1916 the South American Championship (Copa America) were held in Argentina and was played as a round robin between; Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Uruguay beat Chile 4-0… Argentina beat Chile 6-1…. Uruguay beat Brazil 2-1….. Argentina drew with Brazil 1-1… This left the last game of the round robin between Uruguay and Argentina… The First Final as such. The rest of the story will provide a glimpse of what was going to be seen between two great rivals in international football.
The final was played at the Gimnasia and Esgrima Stadium in Buenos Aires and after only 5 minutes of play the game needed to be abandoned due to a riot within the spectators which then spilled onto the field and the wooden tribunes were torched and the match was ended as the stadium was on fire. The match was re-scheduled to Racing Club Stadium and the result was 0-0 which meant Uruguay were the first South American champions having beaten Brazil and Argentina only managing a draw. Uruguay had won it in Argentina.
This tournament also provided the first opportunity for Uruguay to show just how far ahead they were in relation to racism compared to other countries not only in the region but around the world. The first game that Uruguay played against Chile in the tournament ended with a Uruguayan win but also with an official complaint from Chile regarding Uruguay selecting “Coloured” players. Uruguay fielded Isabelino Gradin and Juan Delgado who were both coloured. The complaint was dismissed by the South American Football Association.
The next South American Championship were played in Uruguay in 1917 and was once again a round robin between Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. Uruguay beat Chile 4-0… Argentina beat Chile 1-0… Uruguay beat Brazil 4-0… Argentina beat Brazil 4-2…. So once again we had a final between Uruguay and Argentina however this time a draw would not be enough for either team. Uruguay won 1-0 in Montevideo at the Parque Pereira to win the first two South American Championships. We then went on to beat Argentina in the final in 1920, 1923, 1924, 1926 and 1934. The only final they beat us in the 1920’s was in 1927.
The next time Uruguay was to meet Argentina in a final that wasn’t in the South American Championship was at the 1928 Olympics held in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Argentina defeated Egypt 6-0 and Uruguay beat Italy 3-2 in the Semi Finals. The final was a 1-1 draw between Uruguay and Argentina and a replay was scheduled 3 days later. The second final was won by Uruguay 2-1 over Argentina to be Gold Medal winners and as per FIFA’s announcement before the 1924 Olympic Tournament it would be classed as a World Championship and the winner of the tournament would be world champion. Uruguay won the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Tournaments and was declared World Champion in 1924 and 1928. Once again Uruguay was able to defeat Argentina in a final and be declared world champion and current South American Champion ahead of Argentina.
Then came the World Cup in 1930 and once again Uruguay were to meet Argentina in a final, a World Cup Final. The final was held in Montevideo and the result was Uruguay 4-2 in front of 93,000 fanatical fans. Uruguay were crowned first World Cup Winners of the Jules Rimet Trophy.
Now lets jump to the present. Uruguay has 15 South American Championships, one more than Argentina. Uruguay has two Gold medals in football and so has Argentina. Uruguay has two World Cups and so has Argentina. Argentina is ranked 2nd in the world and Uruguay is 7th in the world. In 2011 Uruguay once again was able to win the Copa America (South American Championship) in Argentina. The World Cup qualification head to head; 2004 Argentina 4-2 Uruguay…… 2005 Uruguay 1-0 Argentina…. 2008 Argentina 2-1 Uruguay…. 2009 Uruguay 0-1 Argentina….. 2012 Argentina 3-0 Uruguay…. 2013 Uruguay vs Argentina ????
What I can see is that Uruguay also gets the result they require depending on the game. I wouldn’t be too concerned about friendly internationals. I wouldn’t be too worried about the World Cup Qualifiers as the above results would show Argentinian superiority however we came 5th in 2005, 2009 and most likely in 2013. Uruguay have won 2 out of 3 play offs and now against Jordan Uruguay would be favourites and this could mean qualifying 3 out of 4 play offs. The objective is to reach the World Cup and then go on to win the World Cup.
The game on Wednesday (Australia time) will have the extra tension due to the recent paper mill dispute that has previously seen the bridge that links Uruguay and Argentina closed by Argentina. The Argentinian Government is not happy that the Uruguayan Government did not consult them over the 10% increase in production. The Argentinians believe that this will cause pollution to the water supply and wants the mill closed down. There had been an agreement in place the previous time (2006) that Argentina took the case to The Hague but the case was rejected by the International Criminal Court and now are not happy that Uruguay is increasing production.
The other interesting fact about the game against Argentina is in relation to the seeding at the World Cup. At the moment Uruguay and the Netherlands are battling for the final seed. If Uruguay beat Argentina they are automatically the last seed with no dependence on the Netherlands game. The Netherlands play Turkey and will be looking for a win to ensure their place as a seed and be allocated in pot 1. So far we have the following countries in pot 1: Brazil; Spain; Argentina; Germany; Italy; Colombia; Belgium. Being in Pot 1 will mean you get to avoid all those countries at the group stage. It’s definitely in Uruguay’s interest to beat Argentina and then go on and beat Jordan in the play off, qualifying for the World Cup and go into pot 1….