SETE LAGOAS, BRAZIL – Since Monday, there was a great deal of tension at the Uruguayan national team camp at the JN Resort in Sete Lagoas. It was tension that was intoxicating. Oscar Washington Tabárez was very short with his answers and was very standoffish with the domestic media. The international media was shuttled off relatively quick after Diego Lugano and Tabárez spoke, yet there was something in the air. That something that made you feel the suffocating sensation that was frustration and desperation after their 3-1 loss to Costa Rica in Fortaleza.
While he did speak to the international media, Tabarez’s answers had a little dose of venom in them directed at the colleagues in Uruguay. The media seemed at odds as many were outside the press conference room and later on went in when there was a session exclusively for domestic press and rights holders.
Even the Uruguayan media looked battered and still hurt at that moment. Some seemed dejected and saw the prospect of getting knocked out in group stage in their eyes.
Today’s match at the Arena Corinthians is not just important for England to have a chance to continue. For Uruguay, it could also mark the end of what was one of the most important runs in that national team’s history.
It was part of the drama going on and offering the tremendous divide between the federation as well as within the media. According to some reports, this all emerged when some media outlets leaked the starting lineup as well as some activities that occurred in some of their closed practices.
“I don’t think that the (employees) here are the ones share things to the people outside,” said Lugano. “Seems like we’ll never change. It makes me angry because there are codes that need to be maintained. It makes me angrier than losing a match.”
He also lashed back at the media when he was asked about the knee injury he picked up in the match against Costa Rica that ruled him out of today’s game.
Still all these events are just the tip of the iceberg for Uruguayan futbol. The past few months have been filled with crisis and there is another looming within the halls of the FA’s offices. Slowly but surely the dirty laundry was put out for the people to see as there are individuals that were jockeying for position in the upcoming presidential elections on July 31 where the possibility of having everything that was created by former president Sebastían Bauzá could be changed.
There is a great deal of talk about the future of this squad filled with veterans. A loss to England would have this generation playing against Italy as a swansong instead of as a chance to play for their qualification.
On the pitch, there are going to be changes and the squad looks ready to fight for its life. A loss could mean some major changes in store and there would be something of note come Copa América time next year.
Honestly, after seeing them fall to Costa Rica and then to see Spain go out the way they did, I would not be one bit surprised if they are packing their bags prematurely.