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Captain Valverde scores in Uruguay’s winning start vs. Chile

Quick recap from Uruguay’s win against Chile

Uruguay v Chile - FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifier Photo by Ernesto Ryan/Getty Images

The Uruguayan national team defeated Chile 3-1 in their first match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers at the iconic Estadio Centenario in Montevideo. New head coach Marcelo Bielsa named a strong starting eleven, with Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde captaining the side and joined in midfield by Manuel Ugarte and Nicolas de La Cruz.

This was Bielsa’s first competitive match in charge of the Uruguayans, as they looked to make a strong start to qualifying for the 2026 World Cup.

Nicolas de la Cruz scored two goals on either side of Fede’s typical dagger from long-range. Arturo Vidal scored a consolation goal for Chile when the game was already done at 3-0. Fede Valverde arrived at the edge of the box in the dying moments of the first half. Fede’s quick footwork and precise finishing put his side in complete command of the game.

Federico Valverde turned in an all-action midfield performance for Uruguay against Chile. The Real Madrid star played the full 90 minutes and was highly influential for La Celeste. Valverde displayed his excellent passing range by completing 45 out of 54 pass attempts, including 6 out of 8 accurate long balls. He provided a strong presence defensively as well, making four tackles and winning five out of nine ground duels. Valverde’s energy and box-to-box capabilities were on full display as he made key contributions at both ends of the pitch.

Uruguay will face Ecuador, away from home on Tuesday for their second round of qualifying fixtures during this international break.

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