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Whatever happens against Colombia, don’t make it about ‘the gamble’ | Barney Ronay

Gareth Southgate’s decision to weaken his England team still looks like a slight misstep but this is not Euro 2016 all over again and the Colombia game must be seen in isolation

“I don’t know what team can afford to rest players,” Óscar Tabárez told a room full of reporters in Samara last week, the day before Uruguay’s final World Cup group game against Russia. Tabárez’s team had already made it to the last 16 and rumours had spread there would be major changes to his starting XI.

In response he fell back on a familiar phrase. “We do not speculate,” Tabárez announced. It is a distinctly Uruguayan note of defiance, a reminder that this is the most fiercely competitive of footballing nations, notorious for its warrior spirit, what Jorge Valdano referred to in these pages as the “Garra Charrúa” culture, named after the native tribe which, rather than offering to negotiate, killed and ate their European invaders.

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