Uruguay, from dream to challenge against South Korea


Inaki Dufour |

Doha (EFE) has rearmed and relaunched the sky blue team towards the final phase of the World Cup, where it presents itself with all the ambition and with all the expectations, pending confirmation this Thursday of its debut against the South Korea.

The dream of rediscovering his most brilliant past (when he was the first champion of the tournament, in 1930 in Montevideo, and when he played in the ‘Maracanazo’, in 1950 in Brazil) and the conviction that the determination of his coach brings him, the quality of his footballers, the strength of Fede Valverde, the endless goals of Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani or the emergence of Darwin Núñez who has become a huge challenge, which admits neither doubts nor concessions, only victories .

“We know where we want to go, what we want to achieve, but the most important thing for us now is to do well on Thursday. It is the most important game. Knowing what we want to achieve, we cannot lose sight of what is closest. If we lose sight of it, we can make mistakes that we can regret.

The road is game by game,” warns Diego Alonso, with seven wins in nine games at the helm of the team, with one defeat, one draw and only two goals conceded.

Uruguay are training to prepare for the game against South Korea. EFE/EPA/Mohamed Messara

The coach mixed the experience of the last champions, those who won the 2011 Copa América in Argentina (Luis Suárez, Edinson Cavani, Diego Godín, Martín Cáceres, Sebastián Coates and Fernando Muslera), with footballers who made their debut in Russia 2018 (Rodrigo Bentancur, Matías Vecino, Lucas Torreira, Guillermo Varela, Maxi Gómez…) and with the flourishing young generation that is impressing the planet, led by Fede Valverde, a footballer destined to make history in light blue, or Darwin Núñez, launched in the World Cup with seven goals in his last nine games with Liverpool.

The defeats of Argentina, 1-2 against Saudi Arabia, or Germany, 1-2 against Japan, warn the Uruguayan team in the first appointment of Qatar 2022, with the narrow margin allowed by a group with three other competitors, given that the other two (Portugal and Ghana) take on a much more expressive dimension on paper than their opponent on Thursday, the twenty-eighth in the FIFA rankings. Uruguay is fourteenth.

The match against South Korea is a litmus test, which will see Son Heung Min, fitted with a Tottenham-designed mask that will protect anything around the damaged eye on November 2 that left him in the doubt so far, although Paulo Bento, his coach, has confirmed that he will be available at the Education City stadium in Doha, where he will form the starting XI.

His name is at the top of the South Korean team, which has lost only one of its last nine games (3-0 against Japan) in the race for the World Cup. He has no pressure either in the first game or in the general classification of the World Cup, in which his best position was the unexpected and controversial fourth place he obtained in the tournament he organized between his territory and Japan in 2002. In seven of his nine appearances, he failed to make it past the group stage.

Uruguay, from dream to challenge
Paulo Jorge Bento, South Korea coach. EFE/EPA/Ali Haider

Not only that, but they have barely won six of their 34 matches in this tournament, with 34 goals for and 70 against, while assuming their inferiority against Uruguay, whom they regard with the greatest respect, with the thought indisputable that he will have to play a very high level game, almost perfect, to face a team of the qualities of the Uruguayan, but also with the certainty that his rival has won only one of his last seven debuts in the tournament.

Ronald Araujo was released in Uruguay, who continues his recovery from the avulsion of the tendon of the adductor longus of the right thigh which occurred on September 24 and which he underwent surgery four days later, 56 years ago, to enter in the game in the World Cup, although Barcelona will ask the Uruguayan Football Federation to immediately stop the treatment they are subjecting the player to, as the Barca club considers the central defender’s health to be “in serious danger”.

Without him, with the rest of the players available, in an “exceptional” state, as the coach had pointed out the day before, Diego Alonso finalizes his eleven to tackle South Korea, with two unknowns: the first passes by the side right, by that of Araujo. substitute, between Martín Cáceres or Guillermo Varela; the second, for one of the places in the midfield, among the best “10” in the Brazilian championship, Giorgian de Arrascaeta, or Nico de la Cruz, both after a good season with their clubs, Flamengo and River Plate.

The rest of the eleven seems defined, if perhaps with the only doubt between Diego Godín or Sebastián Coates to form in the center of defense with José María Giménez, with more possibilities for the Uruguayan captain, already recovered from the painful and suffered tendonitis in the knee that diminished him in the qualifiers, in the past, from which he has already recovered to enter his fourth World Cup, just like Fernando Muslera, Cáceres, Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani.

Muslera will be a substitute in goal, something he’s had since Diego Alonso’s move to Sergio Rochet, with six of his eight international appearances unbeaten. Cavani will not be in the starting XI either, his ankle problems now over, waiting on the bench, replacing Luis Suárez, Uruguay’s all-time top scorer, and Darwin Núñez, who is making his debut in the tournament. These are the two men chosen for the attack.

Mathias Olivera, on the left side, and Rodrigo Bentancur, Matías Vecino and Fede Valverde, in midfield, complete the probable formation with which Diego Alonso will show the world how far Uruguay can go in Qatar 2022. “Our history and this shirt forces us to win,” says Diego Godín, the footballer with the most games with the sky blue team of all time.

Probable compositions:
Uruguay: Rochet; Cáceres or Varela, Giménez, Godín, Olivera; Valverde, Bentancur, Voisin, De Arrascaeta; Luis Suárez and Darwin Nunez.
South Korea: Kim Seunggyu; Kim Moonhwan, Kim Minjae, Kim Younggwon, Kim Jinsu; Jeon; Kwon, Lee Jaesung, Hwang Inbeom, Son Heung Min; Hwang Uijo.
Referee: Clement Turpin (France).
Stadium: City of Education.
Time: 4:00 p.m. local time, 1:00 p.m. GMT time.


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