In Forlan, I saw the Beautiful Game as it should be. He is so perfect: a leader, a true athlete, a football genious, a gentleman on the pitch and off, plus he's gorgeous, OK? :) But enough or I'll be repeating this cartoon.
And Uruguay the shunned underdog, failing and yet gaining glory and making history, impressing us with their modesty and class in RL - what a tale!
I was sad when it ended - and then it dawned on me.
I didn't see any of the Uruguay games before Uruguay-Ghana, except a bit of highlights! As at the time I could care less. And that meant I still had tons of unseen footage of Uruguay boys to drool over!
And after days of happy watching and giffing, here's what I learned about them, illustrated with ~40 gifs from games with Mexico & South Korea.
Disclaimer - I'm not an expert, just my impressions, please don't hit me. :D Also - not dial-up friendly! Also - please don't hotlink outside this comm.
By the way, both games were spectacular! Both had Happy!Crazy!Suarez. And Mexico game had epic Bloody!Perez. And in South Korea game it was raining - 'nuff said.
Ok, now back to my learnings.
I learned that he's more than golden locks and pretty goals from long distance.
He's the grossmeisster of the field, always moving his forwards into positions to score. And when it works, it looks like this:
Nice, eh? Texbook combination, perfectly done by Cavani and Suarez, and yet Forlan set them up for it.
Or this number, where Forlan sees the goalie blocking the shot and passes to Suarez:
When he grabs the ball like this and thinks, you can feel he sees a way to kill it (mmm, his Holland goal...). And why does he find freedom to do that? Because Suarez draws the fire, but Suarez gets his own chapter.
Forlan also sees when his partners have a chance to set him up, and speeds up for a perfect pass position. But more often than not it ends like this:
And oh yes he stomps about that to make Torres proud (I'll make gifs when I get to those games), but the fact is - out of his 5 goals only 1 came with a real assist, from Arevalo Rios - the beauty goal against Germany. Forlan hugged and thanked him for a beautiful pass - moving, yes, but he had to wait for this till the last game of WC.
He's so accurate from the long distance, imagine how lethal he would be up close - oh wait, we saw the German goal. His partners should learn that when he's yelling for a pass, you can trust that he can score, and you can't. And they better use next 4 years practicing passes to him, so this can happen often:
Forlan's most tragic moment was at the end of Holland game, when he couldn't finish the last 6 minutes. It seemed like it was despair and not just trauma, because he saw them losing the game after too many wasted pass opportunities, and then Holland took the lead. There I saw that he's indeed just human and not a god. He admitted later it took him several days to get over it. Poor BB.
I've also learned that Forlan is smart in taking care of himself - as Tabarez has told us.
He stays out of scuffles, doesn't try to overrun the rivals and when folks converge on him he passes to someone else. Wrestling for the ball was Suarez job, while Forlan needed to carry his team and be his best 24x7, and at 31.
And when he gets tackled it feels almost like a sacriledge. I never saw him tripped except in Mexico game, where he was pestered till almost losing his cool, and in Holland game - (in Nigel Powers voice) ugh, those Dutch, plus Suarez wasn't there to draw the knocks.
Take that, puny mortals! :D
And that he himself never dives or kicks people or nags the referee goes without saying. Fair play personified.
Can he pull Zidane and carry his team again in 2014? If someone can do it it's him. 4 years is an eternity but I will wait and hope!
I wrote a long passage of apologies of why I think that he gave us one of the greatest moments of football, but I get why some people thought it was a disgrace, yadda-yadda.
But you know what - to hell with it. He DID give us the greatest moment of football. No apologies.
Check out this FIFA page where people all over the world, 900 and counting, name their best moments of WC. A LOT name Hand of Suarez, and everybody says it was great. Didn't get the cheating memo I guess, just enjoyed the thrill, and no one should blame them.
When Fortune speaks so loudly and picks a winner with such a florish, maybe we should listen.
Maybe Ghana dived one time too many (remember the endless flops in USA game?), and couldn't profit from the last dive/free kick when it mattered the most? Whatever, one foul cancelled another, penalties were pure fate and it rewarded whom it rewarded.
And when all the Suarez hate started I felt even more for him, and fell hard for the shunned Team Uruguay.
It pained me when he got booed, I thought - poor baby, will he be all right, hope they'll give him lots of love at home etc.
Mua-ha-ha, after watching him closely I'm sure he'll be fine - unless this Hand of Suarez business turns his head and he ends up like Maradona.
As I learned that he's not a shrinking violet but rather a daredevil rascal who often plays dirty and thrives on adversity. He can take it.
I've learned that he dives. A lot. I thought it's because he plays for the Dutch club Ajax, and (in Nigel Powers voice) those Dutch made him so damn evil. :D But I was corrected in the comments that he was much worse when he came to Ajax and they in fact made him better, so he must be a natural in this. :)
And when he is not diving he cries loudly to referee on every move on him, he gets beat up for real (SA game had plenty of moments - there'll be gifs), he wrestles for the ball all over the place, he shoots, he scores and drives the other team crazy.
He makes such a ruckus that Forlan can be left alone to do his thing, plus he gets to do all those free kicks (or penalties!) that Suarez earns him. I wonder how Messi would perform if he had a partner like Suarez...
This Forlan-Suarez partnership is genius! Those two are like yin and yan, light and dark (even the colours are right ;)), hero and anti-hero, they work so well together.
Suarez is one hell of a striker, but also has this role where he gets under rival's skin and draws their ire on himself and away from his team and Forlan, and he seems to like it this way.
The handball took it to extreme - Suarez did the gross offense and got all the hate so that the team could go on and Forlan could shine and show the beautiful game and get all the love and the best reward. It breaks my heart a little.
Suarez is 23, he's talented and ambitious, he should have great future and he's the best hope for Uruguay team in 2014.
Cavani is 23 too, and he's a team player, very fast, and works great with Suarez - they assisted each other goals couple of times in WC. I wish him luck and hope he'll come back in force in 2014!
But the real revelation for me was Uruguay defense, and the captain Diego Lugano.
I think it's genious that Uruguay has two leaders to split the work: Forlan the attacking general and Lugano the general of defense! Just look at those two and feel the awe!
And Diego Lugano is such a BAMF. He's so wholesome and cool, a true leader, always knows what's right. Plus he's hott!
His defense and midfield has some brutal looking guys but they are pretty tame as defense goes.
Like this one! :D
Lugano is so for fair play he even hides his hands behind his back (Russian commentators were all "HA-HA he's like under arrest")
Because he knows that this can happen:
But no worry, this guy didn't even get a yellow, and under the eyes of the referee. Maybe it's only evil when Suarez does it? Hmm...
But Lugano still hides hands as with those referees you never know!
He can help Muslera in need, and within the rules too! Seriously, he's so chill here!
My worry is that he won't make it to 2014, he'll be 34 and his role is so physical... Maybe like a substitute/moral autority? I can't imagine the team without him.
And the brightest star of Diego Lugano's squad is Jorge Fucile.
He's an awesome defender, but sorry all my thoughts turn shallow when I look at him. I promise to make gifs where he kicks ass! But now all I can see is his silky black hair, and the ball he caresses in his shirt...
Yes BB, we all want to hug you and squish you. Why so adorable?
Funny how even Russian commentators took fancy to him. "He's so active". "He's so agile". "What about that lock of hair - is it natural grey?" "You don't think..." "Oh no he didn't..." "He dyes it?!" Come on guys you have HONDA in CSKA Moscow, deal with it! :D
He, like Suarez, should be the team greatest asset in 2014.
But first, a relevant tale. I saw a random comment by a random US guy giving soccer a try. It was the usual: "Why they are always writhing on the ground pretending being hit, what kind of pussy sport is this? But there was one guy who was really hit in the face with blood all over him, and all he wanted was to go back on the field! So maybe it's not all bad".
Perez kept random US guy believing in soccer, he's that cool!
He was hit by a random elbow, and his eyebrow was cut. That guy got nothing, while on the other field Gourkuff got a red card for random elbow with no trauma whatsoever. Oh, the referees...
Finally, they let him go back!
But the scar is still there... I wanted to say poor BB but couldn't. Perez is not a baby, he's a real man, rraurr!
All in the day's work for Perez!
Another great 30-yr old Diego who would probably be sorely missed in 2014... But I'll hope for the best.
Can't skip tiny awesome dynamo Arevalo Rios who gave that great assist to Forlan. I'll make special gifs for him next time.
Also he gave me the lolziest moment of rewatch when Russian commentator mixed him up with Diego Forlan. I mean come on, can you find two persons looking less alike? :D
Last line of defense but not least - Fernando Muslera.
He made 2 most important saves for Uruguay in a long time, and he's a hottie who loves his goal posts!
Don't hate on me when I say he still has some way to go to be a reliable goalie. But he's just 23, so I hope he trains like hell the next 4 years and be awesome in 2014!
His biggest weakness right now seems to be unsure what to do in a commotion near the net. He's often in the wrong place and losing the ball, and watching several moments like this you understand better why Suarez had to do what he did.
And Lugano is always ready to help:
Or the goal post!
But mostly it's just Muslera doing great job. And I love his outfits!
I didn't mention everyone but I love them all.
And finally one guy we want to see the most in 2014!
Some leftover bonus gifs
Let's finish with pissed-off Forlan. He's pissed because SK game was the only one he took his shirt off, and no one filmed it! We have only photos... *headdesk*
The second part is coming in 1-2 weeks, with France and South Africa gifs.
El Ruso Perez thanks you for your patience!