1993		Post-War Economic Decline in Uruguay
1993		Politics In Selecting The Uruguayan Team
Aug 4, 1995	Decline In The Quality of Uruguayan Players

Author: marcelo@maui.almaden.ibm.com (Marcelo Weinberger)
Subject: Re: What happenned with you, Uruguay ?
Date: [Aug 1993]

HVILLA@itesmvf1.rzs.itesm.mx writes:
> After that shocking defeat 3-1 in La Paz, I can only mumble what
> happened with this team ? Uruguay, Olympic champions in 1924 and
> 1928, World Cup champions in 1930 and 1950 [...]. After 30 years of
> one of the best displays ever seen (1920-50), were 20 years of so-so
> (1950-70) and 20 years of crap (1970-90).
> Where are those fine players of yesterday, they must be revolving
> in their tombs.
> Maspoli STOP them a penalty, Schiaffino SCORE them a goal, Scarone,
> Ghiggia, Miguez, Cea, brave warriors of yore, STAND UP !!!!

Well, just consider these other figures, find the correlation, and draw
your own conclusions:
1920-55: Uruguay, the so-called Switzerland of Latin-America, has a
         per-capita income amongst the top ten in the world. In 1938,
         for example, it was the same as France.
1955-70: The Switzerland of Latin-America deteriorates, especially
         during the sixties.
1970-90: The Switzerland of Latin-America does not exist any more. There
         are even 11 years of military rule.
1993:    Although Uruguay is still, according to UN figures, the country
         in the sub-continent with the highest living standards
         (followed quite closely by Chile and Costa Rica now), it
         already entered the Third World completely. The economic crisis
         has continued for at least 25 years. In particular, soccer
         clubs sell every average player that grows up in order to
         survive. The best ones go to Italy (8 players in that league
         last season, from a nation of 3,000,000... impressive, isn't
         it?), those that just want to make a living go to, say,
         Honduras... (no ofense intended!)

Is it clear?
--Marcelo Weinberger

Author: marcelo@hplms1.hpl.hp.com (Marcelo Weinberger)
Subject: [Politics In Selecting The Uruguayan Team]
Date: [Early 1993]

Ken, I'll try to give you the context that can help answering both
questions (why Cubilla is not using the Italy-based players and why the
heads of the Association do not change him), and the story behind this.

There are 8 Uruguayan players in Italy: Fonseca (Napoli), Sosa (Inter),
Aguilera and Saralegui (Torino), Francescoli, Herrera and Tejera
(Cagliari), and Montero (Atalanta), although two of them (Saralegui and
Tejera) are the fourth foreigner in their clubs and are not playing
regularly. The only one that is playing with the national team is the
less known of them, Saralegui. Apparently, the bad relationship between
Cubilla and these players started before the Copa America '91, when he
said that for the moment he would not take them into account, in order
to give an opportunity to those who were playing in the local league.

The point is that now all the players he tried in '91 (playing badly,
but almost going to the finals) are playing abroad, so the initial
argument of trying a national team without "foreign" players is no
longer valid. And it is stupid in a country like Uruguay, where any
player that shows a good potential is immediately signed by foreign
clubs. I'm not only talking about those that go to the European leagues,
mostly Italy and Spain, but also to the neighboring countries. In the
Argentinean League, for example, there are about 30 Uruguayan players,
but also completely unknown players are taken by foreign clubs from less
developed leagues (including Central America). (BTW, during the last
CONCACAF qualifyings, the coaches of El Salvador, Honduras, and Costa
Rica were Uruguayans). So we have now the strange situation where the
national team is composed of players playing abroad, but in Argentina,
Mexico, Colombia and other countries, instead of in Italy, except for
Saralegui, the less renowned of them. Moreover, players that are doing
well in the big Argentinean clubs (Sergio Martinez from Boca, Ruben Da
Silva from River, are those coming to my mind) are not playing. So,
ignoring so much talent in a nation of 3,000,000 people is too much...

Another complicated issue is that the players opposed to Cubilla have a
common agent, Francisco "Paco" Casal, a powerful man that did very good
business with these players, which is in bad relations with Cubilla, and
he is putting pressure on the heads of the Uruguayan Football
Association to resign (and Cubilla with them, of course). He was
involved in the strike that the players held last October. So there is a
huge political battle, in which the people and most of the media support
the "weak" side, the "poors", as opposed to the "rich Italians".

But the opposition of the public to players that became rich abroad
and come to play for the national team is much older, almost 20 years,
namely the '74 WC, when for the first time such players were included in
the team, with very bad results. Just remember that 4 years before
Uruguay obtained the fourth place in the WC with a weaker team. The
feeling is that those players don't play seriously. On the other hand,
the best results achieved by the national team in the last 15 years (the
Copa America in '83 and '87, the Gold Cup or "Mundialito" in '80), were
obtained mostly with local players or with few "foreigners". Also, the
results obtained by non-local players in WC '86 and '90 were far below
expectations. The problem probably is that people in Uruguay are very
used to win, too much, according to the size of the country. We have to
take into account that even now, that the times when Uruguayan soccer
was the strongest side in the world are far behind us, both the national
team and the Uruguayan clubs did have the best record in the continental
competitions during the eighties (Copa America '83 and '87, second place
in '89, Copa Libertadores '80, '82, '87, and '88, Intercontinental Cup
in '80, '82, and '88). So playing for the national team involves a
tremendous pressure, and it is even greater when people see you score in
the Italian Serie A each week, and want you to score with the national
team as well.

As a result, the "celeste" (light blue) shirt has been too heavy a
responsibility for those players. This is more related to the
amount of money they earn than to being local players or not. The
example that comes to my mind is Fernando Morena in the '70's and early
'80's, that was very well-paid by Pen~arol, and was hated for not
scoring with the national team as he used to do with his club.
Contrarily to what happens in Brazil and at a certain extent in
Argentina, and probably due to a different social structure of the
country, people in Uruguay are not unconditionally devoted to idols. In
this case they probably prefer to lose with the very average players
that are playing now, than using the Italy-based ones.

Well, you probably didn't understand much from all this mess, but I
just wanted to show you that things are more complicated than just a bad
relationship between a specific coach and some players. In the last
weeks, there were some rumors that Cubilla will be replaced. Now he is
saying that he only wants Fonseca and Sosa, not the others. I think that
more will come. Hopefully, the disgraceful performance against Germany
some months ago will help.

From: marcelo@hplgser.hpl.hp.com (Marcelo Weinberger)
Subject: Re: You too can write up an all-time top XI list
Date: August 4, 1995

Exactly: and in order to make up for one of the problems that Ariel mentioned 
(people who include players that played a long time ago, who never happen to
be Uruguayan despite the fact that Uruguay dominated world's soccer at the 
time), here goes a wonderfully biased list, in no particular order:

1 - Hector Scarone
2 - Jose Piendibeni
3 - Anibal Ciocca
4 - Jose Nassazi
5 - Pepe Schiaffino
6 - Obdulio Varela
7 - Walter Gomez
8 - Leandro Andrade
9 - Severino Varela
10 - Julio Cesar Abbadie (just to include one that I actually saw, playing 
in his thirties, after returning from Italy).

From: marcelo@hplgser.hpl.hp.com (Marcelo Weinberger)
Subject: Re: You too can write up an all-time top XI list
Date: August 5, 1995

Gabriele Marcotti (marcotti@mail2.sas.upenn.edu) wrote:
> Does you bias run only to old Uruguayans? Otherwise, how can you leave out 
> Daniel Fonseca, Ruben Sosa, Bengoechea and, of course, Enzo Francescoli?

Gabriele, I gave you a list where 60% of the players have Italian names
and you want me to change it?

As for the modern players you listed, let's start by ruling out
Bengoechea. He can hardly make it to the current national team, not to
mention a list of best players. As for the others, well, it's a matter
of how you compare old-timers with modern players. I don't think that
these three players have today the impact that these other players did
have at their time. I mean, I wouldn't say that Francescoli has been the
best #10 (mezza punta) of the world at any stage of his career. Scarone,
Ciocca, Severino Varela, and Schiaffino arguably were. The less known
Walter Gomez was considered in Uruguay to be better than Schiaffino (but
he played most of his career in Argentina). 

In fact, with so many #10's, most Uruguayan veterans would tell you that 
Francescoli would hardly have made it to the national team. Nassazi and 
Leandro Andrade, besides being world champions and twice olympic champions, 
were considered to be the best players in the world at their positions (sames 
goes for Scarone). Obdulio Varela represents the biggest myth in Uruguay's 
soccer history, so no Uruguayan would forget him in any list. Piendibeni was
considered the maestro of the generation of the twenties and thirties. So 
the only arguable one would be Abbadie. 

Now, Uruguayan journalists voted last month the best team of the last 25 
years (so, these players are more or less comparable). The selected team was:
Mazurkiewicz; Anchetta, De Leon, Diogo, and Pavoni; Dario Pereyra, Rocha and 
Francescoli; Cubilla, Morena and Morales. 

No Fonseca, no Sosa there. Personally, I would put Fonseca rather than Morales. 
But if you go another twenty or thirty years back, noone would think of him 
before forwards like Hohberg, Miguez, Abbadie, Luis Ernesto Castro, Hector 
Castro, Anselmo, etc.