BUENOS AIRES — Uruguayan radio personality Sergio Gorzy went off on Colombia and its soccer team after Uruguay lost 4-0 to Los Cafeteros at Barranquilla in World Cup qualifying play back in 2012. His anger was so extreme that he started talking about how soccer in Colombia was being run by “drug dealers” and how Colombia was “backwards” due to the tricks that they had up their sleeves to get the upper hand against the visitors.
His rant was sparked after Uruguayan players and coaches mentioned that their locker room was without working air conditioning amid the scorching heat of the Barranquilla summer.
Gorzy’s comments created a major uproar from the Colombian press and many fans. His comments were on the front page of several dailies throughout Colombian and had radio stations with phone lines burning with fans wanting to give Gorzy a piece of their mind. The backlash was so extreme that the Uruguayan journalist had to issue a public apology on a simulcast of his daily radio show with various networks in Colombia.
“This is why Colombia’s trophy cases the way they do- empty. They have one Narco Cup that they won back in 2001 where Argentina could have scored six goals on them on any pitch. They didn’t go play with their stars to play with those savages while Uruguay and Brazil went with alternate sides. That’s how Colombia won their lone little title they won in their lives. Colombian clubs, only through drug trafficking, were able to obtain money to buy a bunch of stars to get to the finals of Copa Libertadores and then lose them.”
That story is like many other South American rivalries. There are always chapters that stand out and give some morbidity to any potential tie. In the case of Uruguay and Colombia there are interesting stories that make it such a compelling encounter in the 2014 World Cup knockout stage and there is a history that it brings into Saturday’s encounter (4pm ET/1pm PT kickoff).
Uruguay ironically was the team that gave the Colombians their first-ever World Cup experience back in 1962 in Chile. Many of the Colombian players were overwhelmed and star struck to see players like Luis Cubilla, Nestor Sasia, Nestor Gonçalves and Pedro Rocha. The match ended in a 2-1 victory for La Celeste as the team coached by Juan Carlos Corazzo had to come from behind in Africa with goals by Cubilla an Sasia. An interesting tie-in to Saturday’s game at the Maracanã for Diego Forlán, as his grandson will play in that match.
Colombia then won their first-ever qualifier on the road back in 1973 when they defeated Uruguay 1-0 at the Estadio Centenario. The brilliance of Willington Ortíz was seen in a goal where he weaved around the Uruguayan defense and Atlético Mineiro goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz as they came away with the historic win. Uruguay ended up getting the last laugh as they went to the World Cup while the Colombians missed out for a fourth consecutive tournament.