Uruguay has lost it’s first ever game at the Olympics, losing 2-0 to Senegal at the London 2012 Olympics. In 1924 FIFA took over football and was planning a World Cup. One of the first steps was to use the Olympic football tournament to determine the World Champions. The 1924 Olympics were held in Paris, France the home of Jules Rimet who invented the first World Cup and who the World Cup trophy was named after.
In the Paris 1924 Olympics Uruguay beat Yugoslavia 7-0, United States 3-0, France 5-1, Netherlands 2-1 and the final Switzerland 3-0 to win the Gold Medal and become the first ever World Champions. During the Olympics the crowds were introduced to a different style of play that they had not seen in Europe with Uruguay playing a short passing game in contrast to the physical European style. This style of play was applauded by the crowds and they would cheer the Uruguayan squad for their entertaining way of playing.
In the Amsterdam 1928 Olympics Uruguay beat the Netherlands 2-0, Germany 4-1, Italy 3-2 and the final was a 1-1 draw with Argentina and a second final had to be played (the days before penalty shoot outs). Uruguay won the second final 2-1 against Argentina to win their second Gold Medal and proclaimed as World Champions once again.
The crowds were mesmerized with Uruguay’s style of play during the 1924 and 1928 Olympics and the Europeans were quite surprised as one of Uruguay’s best players was José Leandro Andrade who was recognised as being the first black international football player to play Olympic football. He was nicknamed The Black Marvel and The Black Pearl, the latter a name later used in reference to Pelé. Some countries protested that Uruguay had a coloured player, however the Olympic Committee allowed Uruguay to continue with The Black Marvel.
Now in the London 2012 Olympics I get to see Uruguay play at an Olympic tournament. Now it’s an under 23 competition allowing 3 over age players to compete. During the 1924 and 1928 Olympics Uruguay were cheered and applauded and now we have the crowds booing them. We have the Africans booing us due to the Suarez hand ball against Ghana in the 2010 World Cup quarter final. Now after our first game back in the Olympics which we beat the UAE 2-1, Uruguay has lost against African opposition. During the press conference after the game a Senegalese journalist asked Uruguay’s coach about the Ghana game. I guess the Africans feel like it’s some sort of revenge that Senegal beat us.
Interesting that some countries have queried the success of the African countries at an under 23 age group. The question has been raised in relation to the physique of the African players as some look like they are over 23. Some of the points raised is that the document keeping in Africa is not as accurate as in European and American countries. Could a test be introduced and is there such a test that can say “what age you are” ? Somehow I don’t think so!!
Well the main cause of the booing is a player who is from the same birthplace as José Andrade from Salto, Uruguay. Luis Suarez is a controversial player who has had issues in the Netherlands, the World Cup 2010 and in England. Interesting to see that Edison Cavani is also from Salto, Uruguay and is at the moment one of the best strikers in the world.
Both Suarez and Cavani are not having a great tournament and seem out of touch, lacking match fitness. Uruguay is in a very difficult situation having to win it’s last group game to progress to the last eight. The last group game is not against a country but against four countries as Great Britain is made up of the best players from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It’s quite a strange situation to be in as this would not happen at the World Cup. Imagine if Uruguay played in a team called South America 11 consisting of the best players from Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Uruguay!!!
Not only are we playing against four countries but we are also playing in Wales which is a home ground advantage for Team Great Britain. Sure we beat the French and Dutch at their own Olympics but I don’t see Uruguay beating Great Britain. The stadium will be booing everything Uruguay does and sure all the players are mentally strong but to play in an atmosphere that is hostile during a tournament that proclaims it’s values of:
- Respect – fair play; knowing one’s own limits; and taking care of one’s health and the environment
- Excellence – how to give the best of oneself, on the field of play or in life; taking part; and progressing according to one’s own objectives
- Friendship – how, through sport, to understand each other despite any difference
I believe that the crowd will influence the game, the officials will influence the game and Uruguay are not playing well. The team has only had a few moments where they have played well and the team is lacking defensive midfielders. El Maestro ended up playing with 5 forwards against ten men Senegal with no players to actually get the ball back once we lost it. Great Britain only needs a draw and Uruguay need to win. This works nicely for Great Britain’s style of play as Uruguay’s defense is it’s other weakness. We will struggle when we lose the ball pushing forward as Great Britain has fast counter attacking players.
I have a bad feeling about this game and I can see it finishing ugly as Uruguay will get frustrated and lose their cool. The referee will need to be on top of his game as was shown in the Senegal game which was very physical and frustrated the Uruguayans. Uruguay with the desperation to win and all the pressure that they are under from the Uruguayan journalists and people, could easily implode. At least now the undefeated Olympic record is broken and to me it was not much of a record anyway. We have not been in the Olympic football tournament since 1928 and when we did play we were a revelation in football. Sure we are now the current South American Champions and were fourth at the World Cup 2010 but this is an under 23 team.
All the best to Uruguay as there is still hope with no need for a calculator as only a win will do. This game is the beginning of our knock out rounds where winning is the only result anyway. Vamos Uruguay Vamos Carajo!!!!