Nicolás de la Cruz, Federico Valverde and Darwin Núñez during the match against Chile, this Friday in Montevideo (Uruguay). Gaston Britos (EFE)
Uruguay, like Brazil, hired a foreign coach not to qualify for the 2026 World Cup, but to try to win it. And Marcelo Bielsa, in his premiere performance, not only beat Chile, but also showed a good part of his tools to create the celestial illusion.
The Uruguayans do not have a super class like Messi or Vinicius, but they are betting heavily on Federico Valverde, the star of Real Madrid, and Darwin Núñez, from Liverpool. The shrewd mind of the first and the speed of the second destroyed Eduardo Berizzo’s strategy and they took the three points with a resounding 3 to 1.
The curiosity of the duel was given by the relationship between Bielsa and Berizzo, who melted into an emotional hug at the end of the game. El Loco was key not only in the career, but in the life of Toto, whom he selected when he was 14 years old and played for the team from his small town in Corboba, Cruz Alta. He protected him when he wanted to study law in parallel with football, he consoled him when his father died – in an accident when he was traveling to Buenos Aires to see him play for River – and he worried when Berizzo, managing Sevilla, learned that he had prostate cancer. .
At the Centennial, the teacher demonstrated that despite having less work time he has a way forward, thanks to the raw materials and the solidity of his convictions. Bielsa wants a Uruguay with quick transitions and play on the flanks, and in the bursts of dominance he managed to score three times and expose the enormous slowness of the Chilean team.
Berizzo did not have two of his old banners last night, remnants of a brilliant generation that won two Americas Cups but that, in its decline, was left out of the last two World Cups. Alexis Sánchez spent two months without training before signing at Inter Milan as a last alternative and Arturo Vidal went to the bench because the coach considered that he was not at the physical or football level to face a full game.
The differences were so great that the marker was not very expressive. While Uruguay flew and consecrated Nicolás de la Cruz as the scorer of the night, Chile stammered a defensive scheme that only gained strength when Vidal entered, already with the victory accomplished.
The triumph of the Celeste will serve to awaken the enthusiasm of an audience that barely reached 30 thousand people, leaving many clears in the stadium that should host the opening of the 2030 World Cup, if South America wins the centenary bid. Although taking the vertigo model to Quito on the next qualifying date is a major task.
Chile now thinks of Colombia with no margin for another defeat, because confidence is already very low and the technical idea is exaggeratedly diffuse. A wounded group left from Montevideo, who notice how far away the idea that Bielsa himself imbued fifteen years ago has become and that today it is only the bitter memory of a shine that disappeared. And there is nothing that seems to remedy it.
#overwhelming #lesson #Loco #Bielsa #Chile