Uruguay – @GoalkeeperHelp
The number 5 FIFA ranked Uruguay national team is a team with a rich history in the World Cup winning two titles in 11 appearances. This year being on their home continent should help them as they try to escape a group with other former World Cup Champions in England, Italy, and Costa Rica. This group carries a diverse and goalkeeper strong unit. England as we know have had their share of goalkeeping issues and some uncertainty as to who will be #1, Italy sits with Buffon once again leading the way in what could be his last World Cups, unless he drinks some of Dino Zoff’s water, and Costa Rica has a potential BPL keeper in Keylor Nevas, who has been linked with a transfer to Liverpool.
When many folks hear about South America, they think of attacking football, where the forwards and midfielders are the key, but the Uruguayan national team has Fernando Muslera providing a safe pair of hands between the posts with Martin Silva and Rodrigo Munoz as his possible deputies. A strong showing and win by Muslera could put him the same category as Roque Maspoli, who won the World Cup in 1950 over Brazil and Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, who is Uruguay’s most capped player in the World Cup with three separate World Cup appearances. A strong showing in Brazil will have Muslera in the same category of these all time greats.
Just like Italy and Italy, there is no doubt that Fernando Muslera is the number one, who will provide the necessary last line of defense and first line of offense for Oscar Washington Tabarez’s squad.
Now for the goalkeeper profiles:
1. Fernando Muslera is a 27 year old goalkeeper currently playing for the club side Galatassary (Turkey) after a transfer from Lazio (Italy) for 6.75 Million Pounds. One of the big strengths that have been evident in his 50 appearances for Uruguay is that he shows up in the matches with key saves at key times. He has a reputation for being a strong penalty kick stopper, and in his 31 FIFA qualifying and tournament appearances with Uruguay he has a record of 13-8-10. (W-D-L) including a fourth place finish at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. While Muslera is strong goalkeeper, he does have a tendency to let up the goals, with 42 goals against in 31 of these matches for a GAA Average of 1.35. He has given up four goals two times in qualifiers vs Bolivia and Colombia. He has had only 7 shutouts in these appearances as well with 3 of them coming in the first stage of the 2010 World Cup. Muslera has a tendency to give up rebounds based on boxing away a lot of shots and using his feet to make saves. He has very strong reaction saves, which again lead to second chances, but he makes up for the second chances, by pulling off more reaction saves. He has a strong command of his box and is fearless at coming off of his line to challenge attackers in the air or 1 v 1. For such a young keeper, I believe that if he stays healthy, Uruguay has found their next Ladislao Mazurkiewicz. It’s obvious too that Muslera has a cool head on his shoulders, he has received no cautions or ejections in his 31 tournament/qualifying matches. Muselera wears Reusch gloves, so expect to see the newest Reush glove on him in Brazil. To view a highlight reel of Muslera, click on this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcatphyA4cU
2. Martin Silva, a 31 years old, has seen limited time in the goal with Uruguayan Senior team (4 appearances) due to the Muslera’s dominance since 2010, most recently an injury to Muslera in qualifying gave Silva the chance to post back to back shut outs of Jordan in a WC playoff in November of 2014. Looking back at 1999 you would have had Silva has the heir apparent to move up the ranks, after being the starting keeper for the 1999 U-17 World Cup where he went 1-1-2, but it took him 10 years to make a senior appearance when he played vs Algeria on August 12, 2009. He was the third choice goalkeeper for the 2010 World Cup behind Muslera and Juan-Gillermo Castillo, where he saw no action. His third appearance occurred when he came on in the second half of the 8-0 drubbing of Tahiti in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. In December 2013, Silva decided to leave Paraguayan club, Olimpia for Brazilian side Vasco De Gama. Silva led Olimpia to a second place finish in the Copa Libertadores, so many were surprised to see this move where Silva was a fan favorite. A weakness I observed on Silva is he tends to hold his line and makes reaction saves giving up much more of the goal. Like Muslera, he does not hold a lot of shots instead going for the flair of flying and boxing away balls, that could otherwise be held. He does not come off the line and into the air like Muslera either. He has the ability to make strong reaction saves. With the rise of Muslera, it is doubtful unless injury occurs that Silva sees many more senior matches. Silva wears Nike gloves, so the swoosh will be on reserve behind the Reusch gloves of Muslera. Here’s a link to some of Silva’s highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X6J8-Fy3PmI
3. Like many other countries, the number three spot is up in the air, but it looks like it could be 2010 back up Juan-Gillermo Castillo the 36 year old veteran who has been on the senior side since 2007, where has backed up Muslera. He plays his club ball for Uruguyan club Penarol. He made his senior international debut in a 6-0 win over Peru. Castillo wears Uhlsport gloves. Another keeper that could possibly slide into the goalkeeper corps could be acrobatic Rodrigo Munoz, 32 years old, with limited international experience. He plays his club soccer for Libertad. He too wears Nike gloves like Silva.