Internationals Recap: Uruguay Shamble to Brazil

Salah Malkawi

Following an impressive victory in the first leg, expectations for a festival atmosphere in Montevideo ran hard up against a disinterested effort by a side content to see out the final 90 minutes of qualification.

Uruguay 0, Jordan 0



"It is still a very important game, therefore we are not going to make a lot of changes," insisted Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez before Wednesday night's match against minnows Jordan. "We are not here to give playing time to the players who don't deserve to be on that pitch. They have to earn those caps and the chance to play by playing well for their teams or when we play friendlies."

In the end, he was true to his word—he made no changes from the starting eleven that put five past the outmatched Jordanians in the first leg. Meanwhile, six of Jordan's regular starters had refused to get on the airplane to Montevideo due to the lopsided nature of the first leg, making for an even weaker opponent on paper than the one Uruguay had beaten last week.

Despite Tabarez' strong words and Jordan's weakened status, though, it ended up a match more about seeing out the ninety minutes than making a final statement, and Uruguay struggled to break through. In retrospect, Taberez might have done better to play hungry fringe players, but that Uruguay was largely unimpressive didn't in the end especially matter for their qualification hopes.

Following a lacklustre first half, Uruguay at least showed more determination to get on the scoresheet following the break, but a determined defensive showing by the Jordanians and some poor finishing was enough to earn the underdogs a surprise draw. Liverpool fans will have been disappointed to see Suarez go the full 90 with just two and a half days to go until the derby against Everton.

The crowd may have at times been irritated by Uruguay's inability to put on the show everybody had been expecting, but given their rather poor qualification campaign, a 0-0 draw at home against Jordan might have been the more fitting ending. And irregardless of the how, all that matters now is that Uruguay have secured the final place at the 2014 World Cup next door in Brazil.

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