Uruguay line up by Jimmy Baikovicius / Flickr
Uruguay 0-0 Jordan
20 November 2013
World Cup Qualifier
Estadio Centenario, Montevideo
Uruguay held off a brave Jordan to retain the UFWC title – and confirm their qualification for the 2014 World Cup finals. Jordan needed to win this play-off second leg by at least five goals to qualify for the World Cup, with Uruguay having won the first leg 5-0. But a win by just one goal tonight would have made Jordan UFWC champions, with both legs counting as separate title matches. In truth, the visitors never really looked like scoring in Montevideo, but they did at least restore some pride after last week’s thrashing.
Perhaps understandably, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez named the same side that won the first leg so impressively, while Jordan coach Hossam Hassan made several changes. Although the Montevideo crowd might have expected their team to steamroller their opponents once again, Jordan frustrated Uruguay with a tactical, physical approach. The Jordanians threw themselves into a series of tough tackles that saw two of their number booked in the first half.
Uruguay, with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani up front, struggled to create any meaningful chances. A breakthrough almost came just before half-time, when Diego Godin headed against the Jordanian crossbar from close range. That was the nearest Uruguay would come to scoring.
The second half saw Uruguay control possession of the ball without being able to break down Jordan’s defence. Uruguay captain Diego Lugano had a chance from a corner but, having found himself unmarked, he headed wide of the goal.
At full-time Uruguay celebrated wildly, the players leaping on top of each other in the centre circle, while fireworks exploded in the sky above them. The Jordan team left disappointed, but with their heads held high.
So Uruguay will be in Brazil next summer for the 2014 World Cup finals. Despite their difficult qualifying campaign, their recent surge of form as Unofficial Football World Champions suggests they have a chance of winning the World Cup for a third time.
There is no guarantee that Uruguay will still be UFWC champions by the time the World Cup comes around. There are a lot of games to play before then and, as UFWC followers are well aware, anything can happen.
There’s lots more to come here, too. As 2013 draws to a close we’ll be taking a look back on another entertaining and surprising year of UFWC action, during which Uruguay, Argentina, Sweden and North Korea have all been Unofficial Football World Champions. In the meantime, you can keep up to date by following us on Twitter and Facebook.