Time running out for fancied Uruguay

If you were asked to name a dark horse for the World Cup next Summer it is fair to say that more than a few individuals would suggest Uruguay as a team who fit such a tag given their wealth of talent, impressive fourth place last time out and the fact that they are the current COPA America Champions.

However a quick glance at the ever competitive South American qualification highlights that any talk of them lifting football’s biggest prize is very much premature, with Uruguay currently in serious danger of missing out on even a playoff. They currently sit sixth, two points off Venezuela who currently occupy the playoff position. What is of further worry is that their form is not exactly showing signs of picking up as we hit the final stretches, for having picked up three wins in their opening five fixtures they have failed to win in their last six games and in the process have conceded fifteen goals.

Time is most definitely running out and the top three of Argentina, Ecuador and Colombia already look like they might be beyond catching, meaning Uruguay must overhaul Chile and Venezuela in order to clinch automatic qualification whilst Peru could also potentially be ahead of them before they next kick a ball. Their remaining fixtures hardly look appealing although few do in this qualification group, nevertheless three of these fixtures are away from home and picking up points on the road in South America is notoriously difficult whilst the home encounters against high flyers Colombia and Argentina aren’t exactly favourable.

Two of the next three are away from home which only further highlights their predicament particularly when you consider they have not won outside of Uruguay during this campaign. Up next is a trip to Venezuela and this looks pivotal given the countries respective positions, on paper Uruguay should win but then on paper they should not be sitting in sixth and along with that this is as good of a Venezuela as we have seen in recent times with last time out’s victory over Colombia vindication of that. That is followed by another crunch game against Peru, in both of these games Uruguay will need to perform better than they did in the 2-0 defeat they suffered against Chile, another side who having had a wonderful campaign in 2010 are struggling.

It is hard to pin point just what has gone wrong so quickly given that the coach has not changed and the majority of that squad remains, although it is worth pointing out that the likes of Diego Forlan and Diego Lugano are both nearing the end of their careers. In truth Uruguay do not have history of being strong qualifiers, after all they only narrowly made South Africa through a play off whilst that was only their second appearance since 1990.

It would even despite their largely in different qualification record be a real shock for Uruguay to miss out, that possible failure though is becoming more of a reality with each fixture that passes and they must drastically turn their form around if they are to squeeze their way into Brazil and claim that dark horse tag.