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July 1924: Martínez Laguarda on Uruguay at the VIII. Olympiad
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2021-02-17 17:19:43
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Before leaving Europe with the glory conquered at the VIII. Olympiad, the Uruguayan delegate & also a member of the parliament in Montevideo, Martínez Laguarda, was interviewed in Marseille. This interview brought some interesting points regarding that Uruguayan team and also some content related to European football.
The word was focused on Uruguayan conditions. Laguarda explained how rigorously their association handled the matters before it. For example, no association in the federation could hire a player who could not read and write. Even after the Olympics, the matches that the delegate tried to tie up could not take place. Languarda also mentioned that the Uruguayan Federation also wanted to deliver on the promises its delegates made to Europeans and will therefore resend its teams on a European tour next year.
— Did you think the newspapers would report that they would return home with such a victory?
— No, our bloodiest hope was the semifinals.
— So where will the reception be?
— I do not know. Europe did not expect our victory and we ourselves did not prepare for the possibility of victory and so we travel straight home to Montevideo.
After these few initial questions, Laguarda, who was a great observer, was asked about his thoughts on the style played by the Uruguayan team. He added:
The superiority of our team, I see, lies in the way our players perceive football. It’s been about 35 years since they started playing football in Uruguay. We took the first lesson from the Scots, but very soon we adopted the Anglo-Saxon style of play, which is more in keeping with our temperament, since we are all, so to speak, of Latin descent, That was the basis. However, the Anglo-Saxons and the northern peoples generally agreed on an overly methodical, practiced form of play, sort of assuming that the opponent would also play football that way. If the two styles are so similar - as not very different in Europe - then the team that got ahead in that style usually really came out of the match. And we think the big mistake is here. Come on of some unfamiliar team that disrupts the usual combinations and is no longer able to react in new situations.
I speak in a very general way, but I must state that none of the European teams I have seen is so superior to being able to play its best form against any opponent without interruption. To live with an analogy that sheds more light on what we think: Anglo-Saxon football is like a wheel. If the terrain is pretty smooth, it rolls smoothly, but if all of a sudden a ditch pops up in front of it, it crashes and can’t get out. Our football, on the other hand, has the characteristics of a caterpillar. He climbs out of the unexpected ditch just as he rolls on the undisturbed path.
In European teams, we observed a general feature: the player passes, but not to his partner, but to where his partner should arrive for the ball. It's a clear combination. If the player manages to catch the passed ball, it is good if he fails, the whole combination is lost. We put simplicity above all else. Everyone tries to get in as good a position as possible, but the player who has the ball right now looks around first and passes exactly where his partner is located.
— What do you think about some of the teams that appeared at the Olympics?
— The scariest ones were the Swiss. Their game is most similar to ours and is undoubtedly superior to other European countries. There is more blood in them than in the Czechs or Swedes, who are also excellent footballers, but blood temperament is very important in football. — answered Laguarda.
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