Monday, September 10, 2012

Tim Vickery in South America

In the context of a league campaign, a resounding win or a heavy defeat never ends at the final whistle. More important than the points won or lost can be the team's reaction. Can it rally in the face of adversity, or guard against excessive euphoria?

This is especially true in South America's marathon 2014 Fifa World Cup qualifiers, when two rounds are played together, and a team can play at one end of the continent on Friday and the other the following Tuesday.

Last week I picked out the match between Colombia and Uruguay as the most interesting tie of the seventh round, a clash right at the heart of the battle to qualify in recent campaigns. I also suggested there were signs that, after a two-year run of success, Uruguay might be on the downward slope.

It is too early to tell whether that supposition was correct - even though Uruguay were thrashed 4-0. One defeat, however comprehensive, does not necessarily mean a decline and things were always likely to be difficult in the scorching afternoon heat of Barranquilla. The proof will come in the way Uruguay react.

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