Friday, 11 June 2010

Lodeiro off for Uruguay in scrappy draw with French

Uruguay 0 France 0

Cape Town Stadium

A battling performance from Uruguay in Cape Town Stadium saw La Celeste secure its first point in Group A after a 0-0 draw with France. Oscar Tabarez will surely view it as a point gained rather than 2 lost against the 2006 finalists.

Admittedly the game was fairly low on goalmouth action and in the second half it became very scrappy with the whistle never far from the ref's mouth. That was probably a contributory factor to the major disappointment of the game from a Uruguayan perspective: the sending off of the highly-rated, Nicolas Lodeiro. Only on the field for 20 mins or so, he contrived to pick up 2 yellow cards, the second for a pretty senseless lunge on Sagna. It looked to be more of a case of over-enthusiasm than deliberate foul play but it was dangerous so he can have few complaints.

So it was an early bath and an automatic ban for the, potentially crucial, next game against South Africa. Could prove costly, especially following the opening draw between the Bafana Bafana and Mexico in the same group. If it wasn't already, this now has all the hallmarks of a group of death. Forlan et al will need to put the incessant drone of the vuvuzelas out of their minds when they line up against the hosts in Pretoria.

Uruguay rarley threatened the French goal but Forlan did have a smart shot from the edge of the area saved by Lloris. In truth it was a comfortable height for the keeper even if he did make a bit of a meal of it. Forlan showed some good touches but his passing was wayward, as could be said for many of the players on the pitch. His strike partner, Suarez, was even less impressive and it was no surprise to see him substituted. His habit of continually getting caught offside was infuriating to watch.

The main plus points for Tabarez' men were that they managed to effectively snuff out any French attacks and they look like being hard to beat. Arevalo Rios provided a good defensive shield for his defence and he worked tirelessly the entire game.

All is far from lost for Uruguay. Forlan and Suarez will have better days. If they can get their attacking game going then hope springs eternal for a place in the next round. South America is up and running in the World Cup.

How they lined up: Muslera, Lugano(Captain, Yellow card), Godin, Victorino (Yellow card), Pereira, Pereira, Perez (Eguren, 87), Rios, Gonzalez (Lodeiro, 63 Yellow card Red card), Suarez (Abreu, 73),Forlan

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