Monday, June 02, 2014

Meet the Team: Uruguay

Nickname: Uruguay set the tone for all nicknames going with the simplicity of the kit color: La Celeste--"The Sky Blue"

Star: No doubt about it, Luis Suárez is the star of the show, having passed his old running mate Diego Forlan to be the all time leading goal scorer in Uruguay's history (in 30 matches less than it took Forlan). Of course, he's also something of a nut job--what with the whole berating rivals, biting people's ears, and stymying other teams by playing goalkeeper for the hell of it.

Hip-Star: While I normally lean towards younger players you've never heard of, but given the tonnage of press that surrounds the strikers and Champions' League squads, it seems right to nod to Diego Lugano the veteran captain of the team, and a man who was just unceremoniously dumped by West Bromwich Albion earlier this month. Whatever man, his new stuff is totally underrated.

X-Factor: For all the talent and potential of Uruguay, there's a whole lot of inconsistency in the team too. They scraped the fifth place spot into the playoff against Jordan, and couldn't muster any wins against Cup bound teams away from home. Add in Suarez's tendency to exit early, and you may have the next victim of the Semi-final curse (See Turkey, Croatia, Sweden).

Still stinging Brazil
Coach: Óscar Wáshington Tabárez (No idea why he has the middle name Washington) has a smuch experience with his team as anyone. Having led the way through two entire cups, a semi-final spot and a Copa America victory, he has earned the title of "el maestro"--the primary school teaching helped too.

History: Sure it was over 50 years ago, but Uruguay are twice champions, including the last time the cup was held in Brazil. Of course that was when manager Tabárez was three years they can't exactly draw on past experiences to help the cause.

Food: While Uruguay thrives on adopting popular flavors from other places in the world, most of them have already gotten a shout out in these posts. But not the Armenian contingent--so congrats Armenia, your Lahmajun stands in for Uruguay's food.

Dictator, or Bond Villian Minion?
Fool: The Economist recently named Uruguay, "Country of the Year"for 2013, which means we have to dredge up national history--fortunately there's martial law enforcing, torture endorsing, ex-president Aparicio Méndez. Good ol' Aparicio was also president during back to back failed World Cup Qualification rounds.

Best Case: Suárez stakes his claim to being the best striker in the world--fighting off Balotelli and Rooney in the group stage, tops Drogba in the second round, Villa in the Quarters, Messi in the semis and the Neymar in the finals for the third title.

Worst Case: Suárez draws a red card in the first match against Costa Rica, and Forlan's age catches up to him as they settle for a draw. Without him the team is no match for England, and the aging defense is even more exploited by Italy as they crash out in an embarrassing 4th place.

My prediction: Congratulations Uruguay, despite the educator's bond with El Maestro, you've passed Italy on the list of teams I actively root against. Sure it's spiteful and stupid, but so help me, that's the man I am. I'll grudgingly grant you a trio of draws as an exhausted Suárez falters in the heat...but that can hang you just as well as anything else. 3rd Place--3 points

Added Bonus: Let's close out the World Cup of Hip-Hop with an independent voice: MC Jo with "Vos y Yo"

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