In an effort to build stronger ties with the locals, I watched their games with them. Cheered with them, mourned with them, and breifly discussed seizing a warship with them over greivances against the largely Argentine referee crew. Below are several observations about the game and its shortcomings:
- The game's defining aspect is the difficulty of controlling the ball. The ball is heavy, clumsy, and even the best players strain to exercise any modicum of control over the ball's movements.
- Defense and its positional aspects are largely a solved problem. This means scoring usually happens through clever looking accidents, courtesy of the ball's erratic behavior or defensive mistakes.
- These aspects make gameplay slow, tedious, and exhausting... for the spectators. The ability to confuse skill in creating situations where the accidents where scoring happens for skill in scoring is correlated with greater ability to spectate the game.
- Many problematic aspects of Uruguayo culture translate into advantage behaviors in the game. High tolerance for waiting, feigning disability, selling non-existent injuries, and bickering over trivia carried the Uruguayo team through group play undefeated against less skilled, but more athletic teams.
- The game of Fraud ball is exhausting for the players as well. Full out competition is only guarenteed the first 5 to 10 minutes of the games before the players are exhausted. In spite of this substitutions to bring in fresh, rested players are rare.
- The lack of substitutions is puzzling especially considering that for the majority of players on the field their most important contribution is arranging themselves to occupy space. Meanwhile in hockey where the difference in player skills can have a greater impact on the game and scoring, substitutions are frequent.
- Strategy consists of trying to safely burn time while hoping your side recieves more fortunate accidents than the other.
In the end nationalist appeals for action against Argentina failed to amount to anything, but the Uruguayos were very receptive to the notion the French team didn't look very French. Make Uruguay Great Again!