Uruguay finished the Copa America group stages with a dour 1-0 win over Paraguay, setting up a quarter final date with Colombia.
So far, South America has offered quite a contrasting experience to that of its European counterpart. In front of dead silent stadiums, the traditional powers have trundled through their opponents so far and Monday’s night closing fixture for Uruguay never promised to be any different. Fede Valverde’s team had already wrapped up qualification and had only an outside chance to finishing group winners having lost to eventual group champions Argentina. Their opponents hadn’t racked up a Copa America victory against them in over 70 years and, barring flashes, never really looked like doing so here.
In spite of this, Oscar Tabarez played his favoured lineup so far in the tournament with Valverde again the wide player in midfield. Edison Cavani started without Luis Suarez, who requested to start the game on the bench. Cavani would score the only goal from the spot in the 28th minute and outside of a few chances which the favorites butchered, there was very little else to report.
Valverde enjoyed a couple of good switches and some dangerous touches outside the opponent’s penalty area. Outside of that, I find myself persistently checking live blogs to ensure I didn’t miss him being subbed off. Even in positions when the ball comes out his side, the game still manages to past Valverde by with the likes of Facundo Torres and La Celeste’s star forward line stealing the show.
Part of this is his position, which has been over discussed at this point and part of it is that Valverde just hasn’t been his energetic self so far in this tournament. Where we are used to a dynamic and aggressive midfielder, Uruguay have gotten a passive passenger so far. Perhaps a high stakes quarter final will revive him, but for now Uruguay are a difficult watch for the neutral, let alone a Madridista.