Uruguayan National Team Advances to the Round of 16 with Ease in the 2024 Copa América

seleção uruguaia uruguai copa america 2024 2024 copa america oitavas de final Uruguayan National Team Nazionale Uruguayana

The Uruguayan National Team, led by El Loco Bielsa, lived up to their favourites’ tag and advanced through the group stage effortlessly, outclassing their opponents.

The Argentine manager’s arrival has sparked a significant improvement in the team’s performance, giving them a real chance of going far in the tournament.

Join us in this analysis of the past, present, and future of the world’s first-ever champions.

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The Passing of the Baton from Óscar Tabárez to El Loco Bielsa

It is astonishing that a country with only 3.5 million inhabitants (today) has been able to create such a beautiful history in football, both past and present.

With two World Cups, two Olympic gold medals, fifteen Copa América titles (the highest number alongside Argentina), and numerous World Cup participations, Uruguay’s National Team has experienced many highs and lows.

Há 70 anos Uruguai conquistou o mundo no Maracanã – CONMEBOL

Up until 1974, Uruguay rarely missed a World Cup. They had won the trophy twice and reached the semi-finals in the previous edition, only stopped by arguably the best team of all time, Brazil, led by Pelé.

However, over time, great Uruguayan teams became less frequent. They missed out on most World Cups between 1974 and 2006 (participating in only three out of eight possible tournaments).

Everything changed in 2006 with the arrival of the legendary Óscar Tabárez. The manager, alongside immensely talented players like Forlán, Cavani, Suárez, Lugano, and Godin, restored Uruguayans’ pride in their national team.

In 2010, at the South Africa World Cup, they had an incredible campaign. A serious love affair between Diego Forlán and the tournament’s ball, the Jabulani, was established.

The striker scored five goals, becoming one of the World Cup’s top scorers. Additionally, he was named the best player of the tournament and scored the most beautiful goal.

Uruguay reached the semi-finals, narrowly losing to the Netherlands 3-2.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Uruguayan National Team won the Copa América the following year, a title they hadn’t claimed since 1995.

Since then, they have participated in every World Cup, reaching the quarter-finals in 2018.

However, El Maestro, no longer at his physical peak, had to step down from his role.

Diego Alonso was chosen to take over. He led Uruguay in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar but did not perform well.

Eliminated in the group stage, although narrowly.

The football they played was unconvincing. Therefore, a controversial figure was chosen to lead this historic team.

Marcelo “El Loco” Bielsa arrived in Uruguay in May 2023, after four years in England managing Leeds.

Incredibly, he managed to convey his ideas to the players very quickly.

Today, they have progressed through the Copa América group stage with a 100% record and are second in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers, with only one loss.

A hallmark of their Qualifiers campaign was a 2-0 victory against Argentina at the Bombonera, using innovative marking schemes to neutralize Messi, which worked brilliantly.

Furthermore, they triumphed over Brazil with ease and are well on their way to another World Cup.

Melhor jogador da Copa de 2010, Forlán aposta em bom desempenho de Arrascaeta na Rússia

Image: Fifa

The New Generation of the Uruguayan National Team

At a time when names like Suárez and Cavani are no longer the main protagonists (the latter wasn’t even called up), new Uruguayan talents of high quality are emerging on the world stage.

Among the most well-known are, of course, Valverde, a multi-champion with Real Madrid. Additionally, there’s Darwin Nuñez from Liverpool, Ugarte from PSG, and Ronald Araujo from Barcelona.

However, some less-known names in the European market, but absolutely dominant in their respective leagues, include Giorgio Arrascaeta, Maximiliano Javier Araújo, Nicolas De la Cruz, among others.

As mentioned, El Loco Bielsa has successfully made the players understand his style of play, which generally involves a high volume of chance creation but can be adapted when necessary.

For instance, in the World Cup Qualifiers match against Argentina, where Uruguay won 2-0 convincingly, Bielsa tactically outmaneuvered Scaloni.

Knowing Messi would be responsible for the penultimate or final pass, he packed the area with defenders.

However, the Uruguayans would press with two or three players only when the ball reached or was about to reach Messi.

As a result, the Argentinians lost their rhythm and couldn’t create any opportunities. Upon regaining possession, the Celeste launched quick counter-attacks and sealed the game with a late goal from Darwin Nuñez.

Against weaker teams like Panama, the United States, and Bolivia, they played without mercy.

Nine goals in three matches and top-level football.

Do you believe Uruguay can lift another title after thirteen years?

Uruguai termina no topo do Grupo C, EUA são eliminados | CONMEBOL Copa América

Image: Copa América

Written by Vitor F L Miller.

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Tags: Copa America 2024

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