After the 2018 World Cup quarterfinal knockout vs France, the Uruguayan national team bounced back with a 4-1 win over Mexico on American soil. Led by interim manager Fabián Coito, Uruguay were effective and refreshing at times with Luis Suárez being the star man
The last few weeks in Uruguayan football have been very chaotic as FIFA and CONMEBOL took control of the AUF because of the mess in the FA and mainly due to the poor handling of the presidential elections. After Wilmar Valdez stepped down this summer, the AUF haven’t had a definitive president which is the reason why Óscar Tabárez hasn’t signed a new contract as Uruguay manager.
Once a new president is elected, all signs are there that El Maestro will return to his familiar position. For the time being, however, Uruguay U20 manager Fabián Coito leads the national team and his start was very promising.
Coito has had great success with the national youth sides and is definitely one of the main candidates to take over from Tabárez once he decides to step down as Uruguay manager (probably in 2034).
His squad for the Mexico game wasn’t too dissimilar to what Tabárez would’ve gone for, although Coito had to deal with some injuries and documentation issues which meant some regulars didn’t travel to Houston, where Uruguay faced Mexico on Friday night.
Coito’s options were limited and it led to the debut of Gastón Pereiro, who was put on the right wing in a 4-5-1 formation.
Uruguay XI – Muslera; Cáceres, Giménez, Godín, Laxalt; Urretaviscaya, Vecino, Torreira, Bentancur, Pereiro; Suárez.
As expected, Mexico tried to take the game to Uruguay and applied pressure, but despite all of that Uruguay took the lead when José María Giménez headed home a corner in impressive style. Once again the set piece did the trick for us. El Tri quickly came back on level terms, though, when they won a penalty that was converted by Raul Jimenez.
What then happened was simply brilliant. Between the 30th and 60th minute, Luis Suárez decided to be Luis Suárez again and silenced a stadium full of Mexicans in a way only he can. First a great free-kick goal followed up by a Panenka penalty and finished off by Rabona assist for Gastón Pereiro, who grabbed his first Uruguay goal. El Pistolero single-handedly put Uruguay 4-1 up and truly out of sight.
Mexico did push hard to come back and created quite a few chances, but top defending and above all top goalkeeping by Fernando Muslera, including a penalty stop, denied Mexico on multiple occasions.
Mexico certainly had most of the possession but when Uruguay were on the ball we saw some really fluent football at times. The associative play between the midfield and Suárez was really promising and it seems the team has been progressing in this department lately. It might have something to do with the chances our new midfield generation have finally been given.
There are still points to work on, however, and the main one is to abandon the tendency to drop deep too much – something Tabárez has instilled in the team over the years. The right combination between relying on the defence and trusting in our the qualities in possession is still not quite there yet, but it’s getting closer.
Why only one game this FIFA date could be beneficial in the long run
The planned Ecuador friendly was called off with various reasons emerging as to why this was the case and. It now means that the team have lost out on a great opportunity to build on their momentum gained in the 4-1 win over Mexico.
On the other side, the players now have had more days off than other internationals and in a long and exhausting campaign, this might be vital when we come to the latter stages of the season. We are talking about a few extra days of rest but in the top of the game the details matter.