Where Argentina have started a new reign with the appointment of Edgardo Bauza, Uruguay continue under the much-criticized guidance of Oscar Tabárez. Both managers face their challenges and will be eager to get a good result on Thursday night when both nations meet for a World Cup qualifier.
Despite being leaders in the current World Cup qualification table, Uruguay is in a bad mood after their disastrous Copa América Centenario knock-out. The reliance on Luis Suárez was once again underlined as his absence through injury saw La Celeste being short of ideas.
Regardless of Suárez being back, El Maestro still hasn’t looked into solving the problem of the lack of creativity aside Suárez. Instead, he has chosen to select much of the same aging players and seems to go for the old familiar plan: Luis Suárez. Although it can work, it will eventually haunt Uruguay — like it did last summer. Which is unnecessary with players like Gastón Pereiro, Nico López and Giorgian de Arrascaeta desperately waiting for a call-up.
For Argentina things haven’t gone well either. Besides the mess at the AFA (Argentine Football Association), Argentina have seen their national team lose a major final for the third summer in a row as they lost on penalties to Chile — for the second time. It was followed by the international retirement of captain and talisman Lionel Messi. Luckily for Argentina, Messi has already revised his decision and after a visit of new Argentina boss Edgardo Bauza he ‘rejoined’ the squad.
Now, again in full force — apart from the injured Sergio Agüero and Javier Pastore — Messi & co will set their sights on qualifying for the World Cup in Russia. In the first six qualification rounds, La Albiceleste have picked up eleven points which put them in the third spot of the table. Their two upcoming games — Uruguay (home) and Venezuela (away) — are vital in order to retain their automatic qualification spot as the margins between the teams are still very tight.
One of Football’s Greatest Rivalries
Argentina versus Uruguay is the oldest derby — outside of the UK — beginning in 1901 when Argentina grabbed their first of currently 86 wins over Uruguay. With a total of 57 wins, Uruguay might lose out on head-to-head confrontations but certainly edge it when it comes to trophies. Both the Copa América as well as the World Cup have been lifted more times by Uruguay.
In more recent meetings, it’s fair to say that they’re evenly matched with both nations picking up two wins in the last four encounters. The most prestigious one of those four was at the 11th of July in 2011. Back then, Argentina hosted Uruguay in the quarter-final of the Copa América. It was South American football at it’s absolute finest with Uruguay eventually knocking out Argentina on penalties.
The latest showdown between the rivals did go Argentina’s way. Led by Gerardo Martino, Argentina came up against Uruguay in the group stages of the Copa América 2015. Sergio Agüero was the matchwinner as he headed home the only goal of the game.
Looking at the qualification table will give us no indication of what to expect as everything can happen as these two nations meet. So don’t base your betting on my prediction. Argentina 2 – 2 Uruguay.