Spain, justifiably, was crowned as the 2010 national team, but I would like to create a new category: the football nation of the year. The winner of the inaugural prize for the new category is Uruguay.Â
Hereâ€™s why I chose Uruguay: Spain is a nation of 46 million inhabitants and the majority of its national line up consists of players playing for the same club, Barcelona.
Uruguay, in contrast, has 3.5 million inhabitants (ranked 131st in the world in terms of population), and of its national roster for the world cup,Â 23 players came from 19 different clubs from 11 different countries.
Â Uruguay doesnâ€™t have the PR machine like Argentine, Brazil and â€œSpaincelonaâ€, yet it is an authentic football empire. Uruguay won two World Cups and it shares the lead with Argentine for most Copa America titles, with 14.
2010 brought Uruguay back to its glory days. Led by a local coach, Oscar Washington Tabarez, it finished fourth in this yearâ€™s World Cup, after finishing the group stage in first place before France, Mexico and host country South Africa.
And in the quarterfinals against Ghana, after disqualifying South Korea in the earlier round, Uruguay advanced thank to one of the greatest showing of sacrifice of an individual for his nation, when Luis Suarez was disqualified from the game after saving a certain goal with his hands in the waning moments of the game.
Â Under Washington, ex-coach of Milan, Uruguay employed an attractive style of football. But it was able to do so thanks to the unbelievable fortunes of talent in the team.
Â Diego Forlan led Atletico Madrid to their historic Europa League title and the European Super Cup, Luis Suarez scored 49 goals in 48 matches for Ajax last season, Napoli’s striker Edinson CavaniÂ developed a habit of scoring decisive goals at the end of games, including this beauty:
And the list keeps going Lazio’s Goalkeeper Fernando Muslera made his team a contender for the scudetto this year, Diego Lugano is Fenerbahce’s leader, Rodrigo Lopez scored a brace in the final day of the Argentine Apretura, earning Estudiantes the championship, and he is even not a part af the national team. Just like Velez Sarsfield’s goal-machine Santiago Silva who is a mega star in Argentinian football for the last couple of years.
You could go around the world and find Uruguayan stars everywhere- even in Indonesia, where the biggest star is Cristian Gonzales â€“ a Urugyan guy playing for the south-east Asian country national team, and scoring an average of goal per match. And these are only examples for the greatest 2010 football nation.Â