2022-11-24 15:14:02

Frustration for Uruguay in stodgy goalless draw against South Korea

Logo The Guardian
The Guardian
By Jonathan Wilson

There appear to be three sorts of games at this World Cup. There are the games in which the stronger team batters the weaker team (Spain, England, France). There are the shocks, in which the stronger team is undone by an opponent that is slightly better than it has anticipated (Saudi Arabia, Japan), and there are the fairly evenly matched games in which nothing much happens (the others). This was very much in the third category.

The temptation is to come up with a tenuous grand theory as to why this should be. There is barely any data but, still, lets indulge ourselves. Could it be that all three types of game are the result of the lack of preparation time, four weeks compressed into four days? Some sides, having played in continental competition last year and comfortable with how they intend to play, are still in rhythm from their domestic seasons and so hit their stride immediately.

Others could have done with more time to fine-tune, to try to generate something approximating to the cohesive styles that now predominate at club level. Aware of their shortcomings they become naturally more risk-averse, for defensive structures are far easier to assemble than the attacking systems that can overcome them, and the result is stodginess. And this was extremely stodgy, a 0-0 in which Darwin Nez mis-hitting an attempted clip four or five yards wide counted as incident.

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