Apologies for not having posted about this earlier, but yesterday afternoon’s Uruguay vs. Costa Rica game hit me like a ton of bricks, and I have barely been able to watch the other games, let alone write about the World Cup happenings. At the end of the day, I’m a fan, and my team dropped the ball big time in Game 1. Let’s talk about it.
On Friday, we saw an aging and uncreative Spanish squad get decimated by younger, faster and seemingly hungrier Netherlands team. The final score of 5-1 was about as shocking a result as I’ve ever seen in a World Cup, and hardly anybody could believe it. On Saturday, the shocking upsets continued, as Costa Rica smacked my “Charruas” around 3-1 in Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza. Because of the group draw, this was a game Uruguay could barely afford to tie, let alone lose. Putting up a goose egg in the points department in this game might just prove insurmountable.
Uruguay held a 1-0 lead in this one after Diego Lugano was taken down in the box on a cross and Edinson Cavani nailed the resulting penalty kick in the 22nd minute. Without Luis Suárez, however, Uruguay lacked any creativity up front. Diego Forlán might have been the Golden Ball winner in 2010, but he showed why he should be a bench player and late replacement only. He did come close to scoring from the left side of the box on a deflection, but he looked every bit of his 35 years otherwise. Cavani, meanwhile, was isolated all game long, and missed the one real chance he had at a goal. That was really the story of the game. Uruguay struggled to get any creative offensive flowing and, when they did, they missed their opportunities. I didn’t think this team would miss Suárez as much as they did in this game. Shocking.
Costa Rica, meanwhile, played the role of the underdog perfectly. I think that Uruguay underestimated their abilities, and the “Ticos” made them pay dearly. In the 54th minute, Joel Campbell (pictured at the top, pregnant), a forward who struggles to get playing time for Arsenal of the EPL, was left all alone just outside the box and blistered a shot past Uruguayan goalie Fernando Muslera. Muslera had no chance on that one. Just three minutes later (57th), Oscar Duarte gave Costa Rica a lead they would not relinquish. Cristian Bolaños crossed a ball into the left side of the pitch, where Duarte dove bravely just under the foot of Uruguayan Cristhian Stuani and headed it back into the far corner of the net. Replays showed that Duarte might have been offsides, but the way Uruguay was playing, it was hard to get too upset about the no call. It didn’t matter anyway, as Marcos Urena ended his personal three-year scoring drought in the 84th minute for the “Ticos” to put the final nail in the coffin.
There I was, with my jersey on and my flag on the couch behind me, surrounded by my uncle, my brother and my cousin, staring at a 3-1 shitburger. Let me tell you, the energy was not positive in that TV room. Where does this leave Uruguay? Well, Italy beat England in the 6:00PM game, so the standings have Costa Rica and Italy at the top with three points each, and England and Uruguay with zero making up the rear. The two underachievers face each other on Thursday, with the loser most likely eliminated from the group stage. Even if Italy and Costa Rica tie, that would leave them with four points each and one game to go. Whoever loses that Uruguay game would have zero with one game left, and a max possibility of only three points. Do I think Uruguay can beat Italy and England? Well, they’ll have Suárez back, which will be a huge boost. Let’s hope he’s enough to get them through at least England to start.
Featured image courtesy of: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images
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