World Cup Analysis: Egypt vs Uruguay


So I thought I would start this blog by saying, “Welcome to the world cup everyone!”  Today is the official first day because we have more than one game to watch.  With that said this is your formal invitation to watch and critique world class soccer in a new and innovative way.  For the duration of the summer I will be recapping selected matches the way only a Nebraska Football fan knows how; by agonizing over the tape and every decision.  Well, probably not every decision.  That would take way to long.  But I will dissect portions of the game to uncover the mistakes you don’t see and individual brilliance that often goes unnoticed.  In the end, my aim is to broaden your understanding and appreciation for soccer so that you can be just as frustrated as I am when watching the US Mens National team play.  Enjoy....

 The first game under analysis is the Egypt vs Uruguay matchup from this morning.  I watched most of this game live and it was a real snoozer until about the 70th minute so let’s begin there.   


70th minute:  Goal Kick form Uruguay.  This keeper can crush a soccer ball.  Look where it lands at about the 30 yard line.  Now notice how many red shirts are in the picture, a total of four.  This keeper can drive a goal kick over 70 yards into a dangerous area and you only put four players there?  Seems odd.  Uruguay clears the play to midfield and the ball bounces around, but eventually Egypt gains possession at midfield. Egypt plays a long ball into the strikers feet and he settles it down between 2 defenders. His first touch is toward the corner flag and he is looking to cross it. 


# 21 in red provides support by providing a passing option (drop pass).  This is a mistake.  What he should be doing is sprinting into the box because as you can see there is only one red shirt in the box to finish a cross.  More importantly if #21 sprints at the center back he creates a decision for the center back; does he challenge the ball or track the runner.  Without #21 running into the box, the center back can challenge the man on the ball.  This allows the out of position right back to recover without pressure and Uruguay is behind the ball again. 


The striker does well to get the cross off, but he plays it between 2 of his players in the box and the chance is wasted.  Uruguay clears the ball out of bounds and Egypt now has a throw in. 


Take a look at how wide open this throw in is.  There isn’t  a guy within 6 yards of him.  The closet guy in white is Cavanni.  He is a striker that has not run all game.  So what does the Egyptian player do? He traps it and plays it back to number 13. In my opinion, a mistake.  He is being too cautious.  Turn.  Serve a ball to the back post.  Your not good enough technically to play like Spain and make 72 passes before scoring.  

71st Minute: Uruguay looks really bored.  They win the ball back and while Egypt runs back in defense, Uruguay walks the ball up the field and concedes a turnover.  This allows Egypt to break.  Uruguay is out of position at this point.  It is 3 vs 2 if the Egyptian player is aggressive. 


He isn’t.  Another mistake.  He should charge hard towards the end line here, but he doesn’t.  Why?  He is right footed - all right footed.  So he cuts it back and Uruguay recovers behind the ball.  This eventually leads to a decent strike on goal but from 20 yards out and it is easily saved. 


72nd Minute: Uruguay walks the ball up the field again and Egypt gets 7 players behind the ball. 


But all it takes is for one guy to get out of position.  This guy.  He anticipates the next pass, but as soon as he leaves the space, a gap opens. 


He whiffs on the tackle and thats all Cavanni and Suarez need.  Look at it.  You can see Cavanni waiting and Suarez looking to run in behind.  Sure enough, Uruguay exploits the gap.  


The ball reaches Cavanni.  He turns and plays Suarez who is in on goal, but the ball gets caught under his feet and the scoring chance is wasted.   


78th Minute:   For the last 5 minutes several long balls from each team were played back and forth.  Most ended up over the end line or in the keeper’s hands.  And then Egypt gets a counter attack chance.


This picture kind of describes the day for the Egyptians.  Number 11 has the ball in the penalty box.  He has a runner in front of goal.  What he should do here is drive hard to the end line and commit the defender in the yellow shoes.  At worst, he wins a corner kick.  If he beats the guy he is on the six and can pass or shoot.  Maybe he draws contact and the ref calls a penalty. 

But he isn't thinking that; he wants to go right and get a shot off.  He never even considers going left to goal, but he is too late. He sees the second defender arriving and now he has to pass.  But to who? The dude in the box is double covered currenlty.  Wait - there is a second runner behind him. He makes the pass and it isn't a great pass. The pass is miss hit and the defender dropped off the other man to cut out the pass.  A great defensive play.  


80th Minute: Another Egypt counter attack. (That stalls) 


Guess where the next pass went.  Yep - to the triple covered guy in the middle.  If the pass goes to #21 on the left they probably score because it is 2 vs 1.  Instead this happens. 


The ball goes to the forward with zero options.  If I am #21 and #22 in this picture I am screaming at yellow shoes right now and it isn’t positive reinforcement.  

82nd Minute:  Egypt is getting tired and Mohammed Sallah isn't coming in to save them.  A long ball is played in by an Uruguayan defender and the Egyptian defenders lose their marks.  Look how much space Cavanni and Suarez have.  


The ball gets knocked down to Cavanni who has enough time to thigh trap it and play a wide open Suarez.   


Suarez heads it back to Cavanni and he unleashes a wicked volley.  This should be a goal, but the Egyptian keeper makes a tremendous save.   


87th Minute:  Cavanni draws a free kick.  He hits the post with his shot and the ball gets cleared out in a mad scramble.  Egypt is losing composure.  

88th Minute:  Another foul and this was a dumb one. Not just because Uruguay scored from it, but because the guy had no where to go.  Number 2 is waiting for 13 to make contact. 


He has no interest in trying to play here.  13 steps in, 2 goes down, and a foul is called.  Uruguay serve the free kick into the box and the center back finishes it. Goal. Game over.  1-0 Uruguay.  

Thanks for reading and following along.  I hope to cover a full game and include additional stats analysis along side my thoughts on the players decision making.  Enjoy watching the rest of the games.  

Scott Bragg