peru vs uruguay, 3-0

Peru played one of their best games in recent memory in their tournament opener against a Uruguayen squad that just couldnt get it together.  They were hitting on all cylinders: their short-pass game was excellent, they had some nice execution on the defensive side, and took advantage of their opportunities on offense.

My peruvian friend Joe’s main complaint of the last 10+ years of the Peru national team was that they only played for personal glory; individuals had the skills but never meshed well as a unit purely for selfish reasons.  None of that showed tonight.  Some of the players had opportunities to take selfish shots, but opted for some well timed passes leading to the victory.

Uruguay didnt help themselves, however.  For a lot of the game they just played futbol with frustration, which was mirrored appropriately enough by Diego Forlan.  He played lackadaisical for the first 15 minutes of the first half.  When they gave up the first goal, he took some errant shots rather than letting the pay develop a bit more.  His teammates were no help;  for a player that’s better suited with a ground attack, it seemed that most of the passes in his direction came from the long air strike.

venezuela vs. bolivia, 2-2

It’s a bit astounding that my complaint of this game is how unispired it was, considering there were four scores.   But that’s about the size of it.  It seemed Venezuela was content with trying to hold their early lead and dropping their men back for defense, only to give up the advantage on an own-goal in the 39th minute of the first half.

To Venezuela’s credit they scored two impressive goals.  Both were the brainchild of Giancarlo Maldonado, scoring the first one and setting up the second goal to give them the lead in the second half.  He was the only player from both teams with any intelligence on the field.  Unfortunately for him, his team often would not play in the same pace, leading to a visible fatigue and consequent substitution with about 15 minutes left in the match.  It was again on the 39th minute of the second half that Bolivia scored the equalizer.