Friday, November 17, 2023

Bielsa's Uruguay and South American qualifiers

 The South American World Cup qualifiers are ongoing. Argentina's defending World Champions had not lost a game since their World Cup defeat to Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, they played Uruguay at home at la Bombonera (instead of the Monumental, where they usually play, since it had been reserved for one Ms. Taylor Swift). Uruguay has been doing well under their legendary Argentinean manager, Marcelo Bielsa, who has discarded some of the older players such as Luis Suarez and Cavani with success. Last round they defeated Brazil, and this time they defeated the World Champions.

It was a good match with chances for both sides, but in the end Uruguay's relentless high pressure paid off. The first goal was thanks to Matias Viña's high pressure and passing the ball to an open Ronald Araujo. Uruguay's second goal was a perfect counterattack following a Messi loss of the ball, and leaving Darwin Nuñez to outrun Otamendi.

Argentina remain in first spot, but Uruguay are second and under Bielsa appear a renewed side.

In the meantime Brazil are trailing. Having tied Venezuela and lost to Uruguay they needed something from Colombia, but got nothing despite an early lead by Gabriel Martinelli. They had more chances but Colombia pressed forward, and in the end got the victory through two Luis Diaz' headers in the second half. It has been something of a week for Liverpool's Luis Diaz, whose father was released by kidnappers only a couple of days before the match...

Brazil are now in fifth spot in qualification, behind Venezuela, something they are certainly not used to. That said, with more teams in the World Cup, they are still likely to qualify.

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