His winning (“magic”) touch for Uruguay’s victory and what he thought about the Argentine team

His winning (“magic”) touch for Uruguay’s victory and what he thought about the Argentine team
His winning (“magic”) touch for Uruguay’s victory and what he thought about the Argentine team

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Marcelo Bielsa is a coach who always plays to the limit. He does not negotiate the demands and his footballers represent him on the playing field. His work and what he generates in his team always enhances expectations. He did it with Uruguay in the Qualifying stage for the 2026 World Cup, also now in the Copa América 2024. The debut with a 3-1 victory against Panama this Sunday, with goals from Maximiliano Araújo, Darwin Núñez and Matías Viña, left more points in favor than against and confirmed his potential to be one of the candidates for the title.

El Loco was cautious when analyzing the victory, but celebrated the positive aspects that his team had. “If in 90 minutes we manage to impose that the game be played according to our intentions for 70 or 75 minutes, the proportion is good.”. I am not unaware or unaware of that, that there were 15 minutes of dominance by the rival and a short result where they missed two goals. In the entire game the conclusions are different.”

Bielsa, seconds before the match between Uruguay and Panama startsCHRIS ARJOON – AFP

In any case, the Argentine coach thinks that it is one thing for there to be a difference in categories between one team and another, but then it must be expressed on the playing field. Even though a team appears superior to the other, it does not mean that it is guaranteed to win: “It is one thing to think that Panama played Uruguay on an equal footing. It is not like this. We missed five goals in the period we converted only one and in the second time We missed another five goals and converted two. What we did was concede 15 minutes, but that does not mean that Panama has acted to imagine that its performance allows it to catch up with tonight’s rival.”

What was Bielsa’s winning touch in the match against Panama? Having maintained Darwin Núñez as a starter and not replacing him after the center forward missed goal situations. Not only that. The thing is that, in that period where the opponent made it difficult for Uruguay and the forward could not convert, Uruguayan fans in the stands began to ask for the entry of the historic Luis Suárez, who was warming up on one side of the substitute bench. “Olé Olé Olé, Luchoooo, Luchoooo.” It was heard just two minutes before Núñez scored with a left foot to make it 2-0. Bielsa, it is known, never lets himself be pressured by the shouts from the stands or the names that may be on the replacement list. Any other coach would have played that card (and previously), also taking into account the hierarchy that Messi’s teammate has at Inter Miami.

What does Bielsa think Uruguay should correct for the second match? One of them, the lack of effectiveness. “The result seems to me to represent what happened on the field, I think that winning by three goals difference is not very typical of today’s football“, Bielsa said in a conference and added: “The convenient thing is to see the relationship that exists between us with respect to our rivals, there is a presumption of prior superiority, there is a reason the draws are done the way they are done, but then you have to demonstrate on the field that this prior categorization is real,” he added.

Just as Uruguay and Brazil are candidates to win the Copa América, so is Argentina: Bielsa has long recognized the virtues of Scaloni’s team: “I didn’t see the game against Canada, but It is not necessary to have seen it to describe Argentina, the last world champion with justice, and with a group of stable and very good level players. How can he not be a candidate?. We will build what Uruguay can aspire to, game by game. I have the expectation that the sum of matches will polish some aspects that, for example, today allowed a rival, I say this with respect, clearly inferior to Uruguay, to dominate 15 minutes of a match that until then presented a different procedure. Argentina is one of the potential favorites and Uruguay has players of a very good level, but we will have to verify whether or not I can build a force with those players. which at the moment cannot be defined.”

The Argentine coach, who shouted with fury the 2-0 converted by Darwin Núñez, had said: “I have the expectation that the sum of matches will polish some aspects that, for example, today allowed a rival – I say this respectfully – clearly inferior to Uruguay to dominate for 15 minutes.” Regarding the reasons for this disconnection, Bielsa did not rule out a slight physical decline in a city with very high humidity, where it became “difficult to manage energy” for a team that “depends a lot on its dynamics.”

Darwin Núñez’s relief, after scoring Uruguay’s 2-0 victory against PanamaMarta Lavandier – AP

“We are all very happy for the victory, more than anything. “It was a difficult game.” acknowledged the Liverpool forward in statements to Dsports at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami (Florida). Núñez scored the second Uruguayan goal against Panama in the 85th minute, which was a real respite for the team led by Marcelo Bielsa, since the rival had had some chances to equal Maximiliano Araújo’s goal in the first half.

The Uruguayan number 9 analyzed his team’s performance in the debut: ”In the first half we were better. In the second they controlled the game for the first 15 or 20 minutes,” he said and added in statements reproduced by AFP: “We suffered a little but with the second goal we improved again and ended up playing well.”

Darwin Núñez acknowledged that they missed several goalsMarta Lavandier – AP

Of course: he criticized himself for the opportunities wasted by him and other teammates. ”We missed many goals, many plays that ended badly. But we learn from mistakes and we never give up. “We keep trying”He stressed. Panama “is a good team, debuts are always difficult. Now it’s time to rest and correct the mistakes for the next game,” said Núñez, looking ahead to his second match in Group C, which will be Thursday against Bolivia in East Rutherford, neighboring New York.

Another of the Uruguayan figures, the midfielder Federico Valverdealso highlighted Uruguay’s pride in continuing to insist until the lack of aim is reversed. “When you create so many chances and you can’t convert, it affects you,” The Real Madrid player recalled and added: ”Sometimes goals come easily but today it was difficult for us, especially in the first half. But with that perseverance and pride in continuing to try, we were able to get it done.”

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