There appear to be three kinds of video games on this World Cup. There are video games by which the stronger crew beats the weaker crew (Spain, England, France). There are shocks, by which a powerful crew is eradicated by opponents who’re barely higher than anticipated (Saudi Arabia, Japan), and there are pretty evenly matched video games by which nothing a lot occurs (others). It was very a lot within the third class.
The temptation is to provide you with a inflexible grand concept as to why this ought to be so. There’s barely any information however, nonetheless, let’s indulge ourselves. May or not it’s that each one three kinds of video games are the results of a scarcity of preparation time, cramming 4 weeks into 4 days?
Some sides, who performed within the continental competitors final yr and the way they intend to play, are nonetheless in rhythm from their home season and due to this fact instantly have an effect on their progress. Others might do with extra time to fine-tune, making an attempt to provide one thing nearer to the harmonious model that now dominates the membership stage. By being conscious of their very own shortcomings they’re naturally extra risk-averse, as defensive constructions are a lot simpler to beat than attacking methods, and the result’s persistence. And it was a decent one, a 0-0 by which Darwin Neves miscued a clip 4 or 5 yards broad that counted as incident.
The perfect factor concerning the World Cup is assembly previous mates. Normally meaning international journalists, or Belgium, however Uruguay has a pleasant array of acquainted faces so seeing them is like turning on a random snooker event in the midst of the afternoon and discovering out that Jimmy Wyatt continues to be preventing John Higgins. There was Luis Suarez, scurrying across the entrance, an excellent irritant – although maybe neither as sensible nor as irritating as he was. There, coming off the bench for a 134th cap, had been Edinson Cavani’s flaring cheekbones. And there, within the coronary heart of the defence, slumped, invincible, half outdated, was Diego Godin, profitable his a hundred and sixtieth cap. He even headed in opposition to the bottom of the publish from a right-wing nook three minutes earlier than half-time for previous time’s sake.
There was additionally Martin Caceres, on his 116th look for his nationwide crew, nonetheless up and down along with his man bun. In Uruguay’s again 4, it was they who had probably the most work to do, with Na Sang-ho maybe South Korea’s greatest risk. It was from the FC Seoul ahead’s low cross that Hwang Yue Joo scored after 34 minutes. Left-right Kim Moon-hwan sank to his knees in despair, with a minimum of an hour left to play, which appeared like an overreaction – however maybe he knew how little he had. There can be prospects.
And Uruguay remained pleasantly unchanged. In a world of flux, consistency is an efficient factor. Soccer can all the time evolve. We could now stay in a world of excessive traces and low blocks, of half-spaces and transitions, however Uruguay, for all of the speak of the revolution in youth growth that Oscar Tabriz did, stand agency, all the time defend – even when Do not be there. A barely worrying second early within the second half when, a product of Tabriz’s complete method to youth growth, Rodrigo Bentenker carried out a figure-eight pirouette to clear the ball from hassle simply exterior his personal field.
Generally it is lovely, like when José Giménez completed off Son Heung-min with a scrumptious sliding deal with 5 minutes into the second half. However principally it is a bit irritating: why, once they have such expertise, do they appear so reluctant to make use of it?
On the 2019 Asian Cup, criticism of South Korea was that they dominated the ball and did little with it – and it is no coincidence that their coach, Paulo Bento, who has been in cost since 2018, is skilled. There are vehicles. 20 years in the past by Portugal who had been usually responsible of the same failure. The primary half was comparable right here, however Uruguay progressively started to say themselves because the second half wore on.
However not sufficient to win the match, or actually pose a lot of a risk, a minimum of till Federico Valverde smashed a 25-yarder in opposition to the publish within the 89th minute. Avoiding defeat is, maybe, a very powerful factor within the group opener, however this was a sport by which it felt like either side would have been proud of a draw at half-time.