Last night Uruguay somehow battled their way toward a 2-1 victory over Nigeria that essentially books their place in the next round of the FIFA Confederations Cup. Unless Nigeria pull of an unlikely victory over Spain; or even less likely Tahiti manage something magical against Uruguay.
It was however a poor performance from Uruguay once again and they would have been counting themselves lucky at full-time.
Uruguay are certainly not the force that made the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup back in 2010 and a large part of that apparent decline is down to one thing; age.
The fact remains clear that the national side has aged poorly over the past three years with one player in particular coming in for specific criticism; captain Diego Lugano.
It seems odd considering Lugano scored against The Super Eagles last night to highlight the criticism of the Paris Saint-Germain centre back; but then again my 13-month old niece could have put that opportunity away.
Overall the fact that he was never the fastest of players in the first-place allied with his ageing frame has highlighted his severe lack of pace; not just in terms of covering ground but in general changing of his body position.
His lack of agility was horridly on show for Nigeria’s equaliser as John Obi Mikel rooted him to the spot with basic skill; and if the likes of Brown Ideye and Ahmed Musa were more composed Lugano would have been punished more than once.
Interestingly enough however the player that Uruguayan fans and media appear to want to step in and replace the 32-year-old is a man who has been discarded as deadwood at his current Premier League club Liverpool.
Sebastian Coates is at 22 a highly touted prospect for the national team and many feel that it is about time he was given the chance to partner Diego Godin on a regular basis at the expense of their experienced but increasingly sluggish captain.
But Coates does not look like being able to buy a game under Brendan Rodgers. While clearly talented he did put in some abject displays this season that justify Rodgers’ distrust and this summer he could be on his way out of the club with teams in the Premier League, Italy and Spain all said to be interested.
But right now his nation wants him even when his club doesn’t.
It poses to be an interesting summer for Seb Coates.
Does Coates have a future at Anfield?
image: © jikatu