Uruguay’s Opening Gambit

By David Patrick Lane | June 10th, 2010 No Comments



The wires are reporting Oscar “El Maestro” Tabarez has already named his Uruguay team for the opening match against France on Friday.  This is a classic opening gambit designed to take advantage of current French insecurities.

The French don’t know what they are doing in South Africa.  “El Maestro” has just signaled the Uruguayans do. “The system we have chosen can adapt to the different things we could face against France,” said “El Maestro”.

Mauricio Victorino who plays for Universidad de Chile and midfielder Egidio Arevalo Rios (pictured above) who enforces the midfield for Penarol in Montevideo, are solid squad players, but not stars.  So what is behind El Maestro’s opening gambit? What is he really saying by including Vicotorino and Rios?  What is he really up to?

The reflex among some Uruguayan commentators and bloggers is to express disbelief and sigh.  But El Maestro is thinking deep here, which is what he has to do if Uruguay are going to go deep into the tournament and win the World Cup.

Uruguay do not need stars to beat France is also the message here.


Uruguay carry a poor discipline reputation and must be cautious in their opening fixture.  The referees need to be sized up.  What would be the point of introducing the likes of Victorino and Rios in the knock out stages, as replacements for better players.  The World Cup is about the making best use of your squad.  El Maestro is already doing just that.

Napoli’s Walter Gargano will surely return to the team ahead of Rios when games are on the line and the calibre of opposition is higher.  Gargano is capable of both kicking shins (as Forlan found out in training a few days ago) and unleashing belters from outside the box.  Just Ask James Richardson.

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