Uruguay defeats Bolivia and sets sights on the Quarter Finals

Uruguay Dominates at Metlife Stadium | Credit: Juan Carlos Rubiano
Credit: Credit: Juan Carlos Rubiano

The group stage action continues, with Group C entering its decisive stage. Uruguay and Bolivia faced each other on the second of three fixtures in the group. A win secured a spot in the quarter-finals for Uruguay, while Bolivia had to avoid a defeat to keep their chances alive. The result between Panama and the USA would play directly into the outcome of the fixture at Metlife, so both nations were aiming for a positive result. 

La garra Charrua dominates from start to finish

Uruguay resumed the dominance displayed in the last 15 minutes against Panama. The high-pressing style by Uruguay almost made an instant impact within the first minute of play.

Unfortunately, Darwin Nuñes could not find the target and missed a free header. Uruguay continued to dominate and forced Bolivia to make mistakes in midfield. It only took them 8 minutes to break the Bolivian resistance. Facundo Pelistri scored the first goal of the game from a two-header play alongside Ronald Araujo.

Darwin Nuñez continues his scoring run | Credit : Juan Carlos Rubiano
Darwin Nuñez continues his scoring run | Credit : Juan Carlos Rubiano

The scoring play almost found Darwin Nuñes, but he was just inches away from pushing the ball into the net. The goal was enough to push Bolivia back immediately, not the best start, but they did their best trying to stop the constant attacks by Uruguay. Nuñes was able to break the Bolivian defense 20 minutes in after a pass by Maximiliano Araujo allowed him to beat his mark with his physicality and find the net with a rocket for a shot. The Liverpool man continued his scoring streak and extended the lead for Uruguay.

One aspect that stands out from any team that’s managed by Marcelo Bielsa is their high intensity. His teams never stop attacking, no matter who the rival is. This is one of the advantages that he has now with this new generation of Uruguayan players.

The key man on this team is Federico Valverde, the midfielder who will be Uruguay’s frontman for the next few years. Knowing Bielsa, he will probably unlock traits that Valverde is still unaware of. The same goes for Nuñez. We are seeing his progress with every game, so the sky is the limit for ‘Los charruas’. Their dominance continued for the second half, but Uruguay started wrapping things up by the 77th minute, with Maximiliano Araujo scoring the third goal.

Luis Suarez saw minutes against Bolivia | Credit: Juan Carlos Rubiano
Luis Suarez saw minutes against Bolivia | Credit: Juan Carlos Rubiano

Nicolas de la Cruz placed a perfect pass between the defense, and Araujo took care of the rest. Unfortunately, there was no turning back for Bolivia, and the goals continued. Valverde and Facundo Pelistri combined for Uruguay’s fourth goal for a one-two touch that culminated in the back of the net. 

Rodrigo Betancur scored the final goal in the 89th minute. His header went past Guillermo Viscarra and sealed the perfect night for Uruguay. The 5-0 result allows them to take a different approach, given that the goal difference is enough to automatically qualify them for the quarter-finals.

As I said before, Bolivia did their best with what they could, but this is yet another frustrating run for them in this tournament. Manager Antonio Carlos Zago emphasized that the country should trust the process, given that the goal is to be present at the World Cup in 2030. It was probably one of the harshest things I’ve heard from a manager. While there might be some realism behind Bolivia’s sporting situation, I don’t think it was something that had to be constantly stated.

Bolivia is setting sights on World Cup qualifiers | Credit: Juan Carlos Rubiano
Bolivia is setting sights on World Cup qualifiers | Credit: Juan Carlos Rubiano

Uruguay will now face the USA in the final game of the group on Monday night. It’s practically impossible for them to lose the first place in the group. The goal difference obtained against Bolivia is enough of a cushion for Uruguay. Panama will be looking to give the second upset of the tournament if they win their match.

CONCACAF can be without two of their biggest representatives by Tuesday morning, but that scenario is 90 minutes away. If it helps, it was announced that Uruguay’s manager, Marcelo Bielsa, will not be in the match against the USA due to suspension. One way or another, the USA will have an uphill battle on Monday night.

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