Penalty Heartbreak for Uruguay As Brazil Reach Final

FT: Uruguay 2-2 Brazil (Brazil win 5-4 on penalties)

It was semi-final heartbreak for brave Uruguay as Brazil won a penalty shoot-out to end an absorbing semi-final in Maracaibo tonight.

Uruguay were themselves one sudden death penalty away from Sunday’s game but the excellent Pablo García hit the post, one of several players to rattle the woodwork during the shootout.

Gilberto put his away and then Uruguay’s captain Lugano shot weakly straight at Doni to deny La Celeste what would have been a famous victory. The match ended with both squads squaring up to each other as Uruguay correctly pointed out that Doni was well off his line. Ironically for Uruguay it was two of their most influential players whose penalties left most to be desired – like Lugano’s, Diego Forlán’s was weak and straight enough to aid a first Doni save.

That Uruguay brought the tie to penalties was the result of their famous garra. They came out for the second half 2-1 down after a brave first-half fightback following an early Maicon goal was undone by a vicious in-swinging free kick from the full back that deceived the Uruguay defence and was put away by Julio Baptista.

In between the Brazilian goals Diego Forlán had lashed in a fisted Doni clearance during a period of sustained pressure orchestrated by Recoba.

Injury forced Recoba off at half-time and Uruguay clearly lacked his skill to turn possession into chances as they launched their second fightback. But they kept probing a Brazil who seemed content to defend in numbers, protect their lead and look for something on the break.

In place of Recoba it fell to Cristian Rodriguez and Forlán to try and break down the massed Brazilian ranks and it was a chance by Forlán, put away by Abreu that finally brought the sides level.

Too late Dunga started throwing on attacking players in Diego and Afonso, but still with a hint of caution – making way were Vagner Love and Julio Baptista. It was no last ditch all out assault.

So it went to penalties and Uruguay will feel wretched at having come so close only to fail at the last. What they have achieved is to bury the embarrassing memory of the group stages with two performances in the knock-out stages of guts and no little skill that bode well for the World Cup qualifiers later this year.

Brazil meanwhile are in the final but they can count themselves lucky that they were not made to pay for Dunga’s decision to spend nearly all the second half protecting their one goal lead. Brazil might be used to finals, but rarely will they have reached one playing such conservative football.

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13 Comments

Filed under Brazil, Uruguay

13 responses to “Penalty Heartbreak for Uruguay As Brazil Reach Final

  1. andyelbolso

    Right – where can I have a rant? This’ll do. Broad view is that neither team deserved to lose last night. I don’t agree with the Uruguayan sulking – they’re noramlly pretty stoic & take it on the chin. But they do havea very important point on Doni’s penalty save. When oh when oh when oh when are referees and linesmen going to start blowing up goalkeepers for coming off their line??? I think even a physically blind referee could have HEARD that Doni was about 3 decent steps forward off his line, halfway to the edge of the 10 yard box. There is not a single excuse I can think of for the linesman, looking down the goal line, to not flag the offence and retake the penalty (if it is saved).

    It is a big shame, because I think the ref otherwise had a very good game in what is a very niggly environment (apart from missing a stonewall penalty in second half, even if Afonso was looking for it).

    It leaves an extremely sour taste in the mouth. Again, don’t condone the Uruguayan behaviour, but they are a proud footballing nation, and it is stunning that the 3 million of them still go punch for punch against 180-odd million Brazilians, and the last thing they need is an incompetent ref.

  2. Are we just conspiracy minded in suggesting that the linesman was never going to order Brazil to retake their penalty but might well have done so had it been Carini off his line to make the save that put Brazil out and little Uruguay in the final?

  3. el choripan

    I don’t think that’s overly controversial. If refs in the UK are often said to feel the pressure in big-team games then it shouldn’t be a surprise that Latin American refs also feel the heat on these occasions.

    It was a great match, probably the best so far. And when Pablo Garcia stepped up to take the sixth penalty, I was mightily cheered. So close!!!!

  4. andyelbolso

    Nah – I think the ref would have ignored it had it been either keeper. That doesn’t make it right, and that doesn’t take away the fact that Uruguay are out because a keeper tried his luck and a ref failed to blow it. It is a problem that FIFA needs to address because we see similar instances every season, all over the world. I repeat – exactly what is the linesman there for in a penalty shootout? I say bring on hawkeye – for the keepers.

  5. Not a bad suggestion but unlikely given FIFA’s tech-phobia.

  6. Luther Vandross

    another year, again Brazil gets the calls it needs to advance – or in this game the non-calls. I was shocked that the ref didn’t call the penalty against Lugano in the closing minutes that Afonso dove for.

  7. Hard to call exactly but for what it’s worth the good folk at ESPN Brasil decided that Afonso was clearly shaping to dive on an expected challenge – body leaning over before Lugano arrived – and the Uruguayan did make an effort to pull his legs in when he realised Afonso was going down come what may.

    Therefore they said the ref made the right call as it would have been brutal on Uruguay to concede a penalty at that stage in such circumstances.

  8. pondwatching

    I hope that refs are starting to get wise to these sorts of subtle simulation. I’d also introduce rules that force the goalkeeper to go straight to his line and stay there while the PK taker approaches the spot to place the ball. Sick of the ‘psych’ crap of touching the player, the ball in the PK’s hands, the wee comments, and then he, like most keepers chance their luck and move well before the kick. There is just far too much ‘professionalism’ creeping in … this could be dealt with by FIFA directives and strong refereeing.

  9. Bo Duke

    Not too sure how that proposal would work, pondwatching. Psychology and pressure are essential ingredients in sport, those that can better deal with it are those that are best equppied to win. If a player “cracks” then he’s not strong enough or not been prepared well enough by his coaching staff, that’s not the fault of the opponents. And if the goalkeeper really steps over the mark, then it should be covered by the rule over ungentlemanly conduct. As for encroachment, that’s different and should be stamped out. However, looking at the two sets of penalties as a whole, and the fact that Brasil launched nothing as rubbish as Forlan’s and Lugano’s efforts, it must be said that Brasil deserved to prevail.

  10. Diego Forlán is a bit of a mystery – so often brilliant and rubbish in the same game.

  11. pondwatching

    El Arbrito … true enough.

    Bo Duke … I agree with you … I’ve got nothing against keepers doing the ‘Dudek’, moving around on the line … its the ungentlemanly conduct rubbish of meeting the player at the penalty spot and the crap associated with that. Its true, part and parcel of being a pro (I’m sure) is being able to deal with pressure, its just in Penalty shoot out competitions the pressure is solely placed on the taker … the keeper is not really expected to save the shot. So you either have one keeper being a prick and gaining an advantage at the expense of the ‘fair’ play keeper, or they all get it going with the gamesmanship. I think everybody is in general agreement on the need to stamp out cheating and gamesmanship throughout the game.

    True, they were rather woeful in their attempts, especially when compared to Abreu’s sublime chip

  12. rovers

    There’s no excusing Doni’ s antics during the run up to each spotkick. Can’t stomach this result –but as infuriating as it may be, no Brasilian launched as dodgy a pk as either Forlan or Lugano.

    I am mystified at Garcia’s effort, I thought his effort would be money in the bank. That surprising turnaround should just confirm for us that the Brasilians have their own god. 🙂

    Seriously, thou: i think this puts even more pressure on Basile’s boys, anyone else agree w/ that?

  13. marcela

    don’t know if ‘more’ pressure, rovers, but the pressure is defnitely on…

    i think the goalie’s position on the last pk was an outrage, can’t stomach it either. but it DOES happen all the time. injustice, i mean.
    and lugano’s face as the brazilians gathered in euphoric celebration right in front of him… priceless.

    but uruguay would have been just as scary for argentina as brazil, no?

    tonight, i hope we see more lovely passing between basile’s boys but the best would be that whoever wins does so ‘uncontroversially’ so to speak.

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