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Valverde’s Uruguay splutter into the Copa America quarter finals

Uruguay v Chile: Group A - Copa America Brazil 2021 Photo by MB Media/Getty Images

Uruguay assured themselves a place in the Copa America quarter finals with an, albeit, unconvincing 2-0 win over Bolivia.

Oscar Tabarez opted for a diamond in midfield with Fede Valverde once again chosen as one of the wide option as Giorgian De Arrascaeta played in the 10 role. He enjoyed a bright first half, setting up Luis Suarez with a good chance in the 20th minute only for Uruguay’s record goalscorer to put it into the side netting. He was also involved in the build up to the own goal that put La Celeste in front.

Bright though Valverde may have been in the first 45, overall he was largely lost in a game that lacked quality. Bolivia tried to challenge Uruguay when in possession, but lacked the talent needed to break the 2011 winners down while the visitors themselves failed to take advantage of multiple clear cut chances. It took until the 68th minute and the introduction of Facundo Torres for the visitors to finally double their advantage, Cavani becoming his nation’s first goalscorer of 2021 (until this point, they’d only managed own goals).

Valverde’s highlight from the second half was setting up Maxi Gomez for what seemed a sure third goal only for the former Celta striker to blaze the ball past an empty net, the perfect summary of Uruguay’s Copa America so far.

As discussed on the last international tracker podcast, Valverde is among the most flexible pieces that Oscar Tabarez has at his disposal so it makes sense to pick the Real midfielder for wide positions. Nonetheless, for Madridistas, its difficult to watch Valverde both deployed out of position and not even fully utilised out wide like Zidane managed in recent seasons. Torres’s substitute appearance in the centre will certainly make things interesting heading into the quarter finals and probably ensures Valverde place out wide barring a couple of injuries.