It has been a little over a week ago since we arrived in this great country, Montevideo-Madrid-Moscow-Samara to attend our first match: Uruguay - Russia, then we spent a few days in Moscow, Sochi and Adler, where we saw the wonderful game against Portugal.
We will follow our squad, while it stays in the tournament, let's hope it gets to the finals and wins the cup. So far, we already take pride in our trajectory, and in being URUGUAYANS.
We feel winners regardless the result, we humbly say it, but what our selection transmits, in this region, is impressive! People from all over the world congratulate us on Uruguay, take pictures with us, exchange shirts or flags, they would do anything to have something “sky blue” (“LA celeste”)!
Ours is a contagious squad, their values are contagious, everyone paddling in the same boat, on the same direction, all fighting for a common goal at the pitch and the hotel, heading a ball or carrying bags on their shoulder. Even if there are stars in the football team, in Uruguay, the star is the TEAM! And how grateful we should be to Maestro Tabárez! A MAESTRO in every way! The same key values that should be honored in a company, are nowadays instilled in our selection: hard to achieve and even harder to maintain.
We would like to share some aspects that have caught our attention since we arrived in this country:
- We had pictured a closed country, with serious and cold people. We found the opposite, people are super friendly, everyone tries to help you, although 95% or more of them do not speak a word in English, their attitude plus Google translator overcome any difficulties. Despite some exceptions, Russians are great fun, and respectful, cities are very clean, and you feel safe walking around even if you do not see so many policemen.
- Prices were also a big surprise. Even if it is the Word Cup, almost everything is 50% or less than in Uruguay: food, transport, accommodation, etc. This only confirms what we already know: how tremendously expensive our country is!
- Most people here are inspired by football in a different manner. After the match that we won 3-0 against Russia, we all went back together singing on the bus, all kinds of songs ranging from Natalia Oreiro to the Uruguayan anthem. Everyone was in a bliss. In Sochi, a few hours after Russia vs. Spain match, we saw an individual with a Spanish T-Shirt. One of my sons yelled "Vamos España" to start a conversation. However, he was not Spanish but Russian, he simply supported Spain because he liked Spanish football and their players more than Russian’s. Amazing!
As to Analytics applied to football, which I am passionate about, in this world Cup, the available data and statistics have been impressively well used. Much as in the business world, they help technical teams to make better decisions.
The general public has statistics available, such as those provided by InStat, where for each player there are more than 30 indicators such as: % correct passes, % successful actions, disputes won/lost, number of passes to each player, interceptions in the opposite field, losses/recoveries in pitch and, crucial information such as the distribution of the competitor in the different areas of the pitch, among others. If you analyze Lucas Torreira against Portugal, you can see how he followed Cristiano Ronaldo until he took the plane back home! Lucas is quite something!
If we have these data available, imagine what the technical staff of the national squad must have, and not just connected with matches, but training, food, medical data, etc. Undoubtedly, the correct use of this information, enhances the squad’s performance, individually and collectively, and accounts for the differences that are made to win each match.
We are about to land in Moscow, our suitcases full of illusions, but above all, we carry the pride and humility of being Uruguayans. Hooray!