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#21 [url]

Apr 11 17 12:26 PM

Brazil began giving importance to a serious defensive strategy only in 1958, thanks to coach Vicente Feola. The 4-2-4 system adopted for the first time in the Sweden World Cup was actually a defensive solution that provided against the gaps of the WM. With WM, they only had one centre-back alone in the box, because the two full-backs used to attack without taking care of the defensive tasks. With Feola's 4-2-4, Brazil finally had two centre-backs in the box who were always helped by the tactical intelligence of left winger Mário Zagallo, who used to sacrifice himself in the defensive phase, and by the prudence of right back Nílton De Sordi, who almost never attacked. If Brazil had adopted such a prudent attitude, they could have won the World Cup in 1950, in 1954 and even in 1982, but they missed the chances playing without any logical criterion. In 1982, it was a scandal. They were probably the best team, but they threw away the World Cup in the match against Italy not paying enough attention to the defensive phase - the two counterattacks they conceded were just ridiculous!
On the other hand the Uruguayans achieved almost all their most important titles thanks to their tactical abilities. The proper masterpiece was the 1950 World Cup, but they also made a good impression both in 1954 and in 1970 playing more or less with their traditional wisdom.
What I mean is: ok, statistically Brazil have a better average of goals conceded, but in the historical comparison, the defensive abilities of the Uruguayans appear more evident than the Brazilian ones.

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#22 [url]

Apr 11 17 5:28 PM

I would also argue that historically there were more goals scored in general, and the average number of goals per game has declined with time overall. So the teams which have been active longest have played in eras where scoring and conceding was more frequent.

But that might be nonsense and I'm sure there are many counterexamples to the trend.

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#23 [url]

Apr 11 17 7:08 PM

Certainly Uruguay is a bit penalized for having "started early" in an era when more goals were scored and the only available opponent was Argentina. But up until WWII Uruguay had a better defensive record than Brazil, against essentially the same mix of opponents. I'm sure this last point would also be relevant later on - see e.g. the Havelange-sponsored "goodwill tours" of Africa that the Brazilian teams would make while Uruguay would most often play only against fellow CONMEBOL opponents.

Anyway, just for fun:
image

image

image


Charts reflect a seven-year moving average (so the point for 1960 is actually the average for the period 1957-1963)

Last Edited By: Kaizeler Apr 11 17 7:10 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#24 [url]

Apr 11 17 9:53 PM

(except the endpoints?)

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#25 [url]

Apr 12 17 9:34 AM

Moreover, Uruguay have another big problem: their population. With just 3,000,000 inhabitants it's not always easy to build a valid squad. This is the cause of their flops in the rankings, both in terms of goals conceded and, as a consequence, in terms of global scores.
But the biggest football mystery is: if, say, Brazil, Germany, Argentina or Italy had had a population of 3,000,000 inhabitants, would they have been able to win two World Cups, two Olympic titles and so on...?

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#26 [url]

Apr 12 17 9:52 AM

and let us not forget (it is not only about the past): Uruguay had most of the time (also in  present times)a strong squad: semi-finalist in 2010 in the world cup .....

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#27 [url]

Apr 12 17 11:55 AM

There is the emblematic case of the city of Salto (just 100,000 inhabitants), which gave birth to authentic champions like José Leandro Andrade, Pedro Rocha, Edinson Cavani, Luis Suárez and to other less famous players who have been able to conquer at least one great international trophy with the national team. I repeat: just 100,000 inhabitants: unbelievable!

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