Uruguay is on the verge of winning the Sudamericano Sub20! La Celeste has grown into the tournament nicely, with good football, good defensive performances, and some good ol’ garra charrua (Most notably against Brazil). The main objective is already complete! Qualification to the U20 World Cup in South Korea later this year. This is our sixth consecutive qualification and adds onto the proof that this “proceso” which once started back in 2006 with the hiring of Oscar Washington Tabarez is working. Uruguay has maintained an unbeaten run throughout the tournament, winning the first three games in the final round. This includes impressive victories against Argentina (3-0), Brazil (2-1) and most recently Colombia (3-0). Three points is all that separates La Celeste from their first win at the U20 Sudamericano since 1981 where the tournament was also hosted in Ecuador. Below is the table as it stands going into Uruguay’s second-last encounter against Venezuela.
Venezuela has been the dark horse of the tournament after frustrating Uruguay to a 0-0 draw in the group stage, they have proven to be a tough team to brake down under head coach Dudamel who also coaches the national team. Venezuela will look to ruin the party for Uruguay as they also need points to ensure themselves as one of the four teams to qualify to the U20 World Cup. Venezuela will also be motivated after they have felt hard-done by through some controversial officiating in their games against Colombia and Brazil. The game can easily prove to be a frustrating one for Uruguay.
Uruguay’s campaign in the Sudamericano has revolved around two players; Nicolas De La Cruz and Rodrigo Amaral who have both been making headlines for their performances in the tournament. Luis Suarez has already tipped off De La Cruz to Barcelona scouts urging them to take note of his abilities. The team’s core has been strong and has grown into the tournament after a poor start against Argentina (3-3) and Venezuela (0-0) in the group stage. Coito has found his core, strengthening his team from a strong center-back paring featuring Agustín Rogel and Matias Viña (No relation) with a very strong midfield consisting of Facundo Waller, Carlos Benavidez, Nico De La Cruz and Rodgirdo Bentacourt. It’s a midfield that posses the ability to actually pass the ball around, something similar to the U20 team from 2013 which consisted of Giorgian De Arrascaeta, Diego Laxalt and Sebastain Cristforo. Up front; Coito has opted to put a lot of emphasis on Atletico Madrid striker Nicolás Schiappacasse who’s quick movement and pace has proved to be a difficulty for opposing defenders int he tournament, his runs into space is what has allowed De La Cruz and Rodrigo Amaral time on the ball to create things which has resulted in La Celeste being the tournament’s leading scoring team with 16 goals in 7 games. Overall Uruguay looks promising and as the tournament progressed they grew into it and have looked better and better showing some more positives. The primary objective of qualifying to South Korea 2017 is complete now it’s time for the icing on the cake which is to become the champion of the tournament for a seventh time.
We wish the best of luck for Uruguay tonight, as they seek to celebrate what would be a remarkable success, qualifying to the U20 World Cup and winning the tournament. For Amaral it would be the perfect redemption after losing the tournament to Argentina in 2015 in front of the Estadio Centenario, leaving the game early due to injury. Amaral later that year, would go on to miss Uruguay’s only penalty in a shootout loss to Brazil in the round of 16 of the 2015 U20 World Cup. Football has it’s way of redemption and Amaral will look to complete it this week.
Look out for an article next week, summarizing and going in-depth on Uruguay’s overall performance at the Sudamericano Sub20. Until then… Vamo’ Arriba Uruguay!!