Uruguay’s U20 World Cup squad a brilliant spot for Marcelo Bielsa


In a surprisingly one-sided remaining Uruguay deservedly beat Italy 1-0 to win the Below-20 World Cup to ship a nation into raptures. Olympic gold medalists in 1924 and ’28, senior World Cup champions in 1930 and ’50, the Uruguayans have been ready a very long time for a title of this magnitude.

There was delirium in a packed stadium in La Plata, Argentina, the place 1000’s of Uruguayans had made the quick journey throughout the River Plate, in addition to again dwelling the place the league programme had been cancelled so that everybody may watch the massive sport.

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And there’s extra delirium to come back on Wednesday. Marcelo Bielsa’s reign as senior nationwide group coach will get underway with, on paper at the very least, a comparatively mild pleasant towards Nicaragua. Earlier than the sport the Below-20 champions will likely be introduced to the gang in Montevideo’s Centenario stadium. For a few of them, this won’t be the spotlight of the night.

Bielsa at all times loves working with youth. His extremely profitable spell accountable for Chile began simply after the nation’s Below-20 group had completed third on the 2007 version, and Bielsa was fast to thrust alternative and duty onto its graduates resembling Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, Gary Medel and Mauricio Isla. And in his debut Uruguay squad he has named seven of the Below-20 aspect.

Attacking right-back Mateo Ponte has since gone down with a muscular drawback, and missed the closing phases of the Below-20 match. However the remainder of the defensive unit is effectively represented — recognition for the truth that in just one sport (the 3-2 group part defeat to England) did Uruguay concede. Goalkeeper Randall Rodriguez transmitted safety, and was effectively protected by a high-quality pair of centre-backs — the Spain-based left footed Facundo Gonzalez and the magnificently calm and fashionable Sebastian Boselli, a robust candidate to be thought of participant of the match.

Additionally included is group captain Fabricio Diaz, a central midfielder with a set of golf golf equipment in his ft. Diaz was not at all times at his finest within the match, however got here good when it mattered, and was most likely the perfect participant on the sector within the remaining. And there’s house for 2 of the strikers — the stocky, intelligent, two-footed Anderson Duarte, who got here good within the knockout phases, and Luciano Rodriguez, whose late aim towards Italy gained the title.

Robust and with sound technical expertise, Rodriguez was the breakout star of the qualifying match in the beginning of the yr. He endured a irritating time on the full match, with close to misses adopted by a ludicrously harsh purple card which dominated him out of the quarterfinals and semifinals. Come the massive day, although, the Italians had been unable to get a grip on him.

Rodriguez spent final yr within the Uruguayan second division. However he, and a number of other of his teammates are absolutely going locations. And this, in fact, brings us to the entire level of all age restricted soccer. Titles are all very effectively — successful them is an effective behavior to have. However a very powerful factor is at all times the event of particular person gamers.

By the use of distinction, Brazil gained the Below-20 match in 1993. However of the whole squad, large keeper Dida was the one one to get pleasure from a major future within the senior nationwide group. Centre ahead Jardel performed a handful of matches, with out coming wherever close to the success he loved in Europe with Porto. And nobody else even performed a critical aggressive worldwide. So what was all of it for? With its large dimension, Brazil can afford to have a scattergun strategy to Below-20 soccer.

However with a inhabitants little over three million, Uruguay can’t. There’s not the slightest doubt that Uruguay’s twenty first century re-emergence is a direct consequence of the arduous work put in at this degree. Time is spent figuring out kids with potential after which creating them each as footballers and as Uruguayan residents — they may inevitably be transferred overseas early, and so it’s important that they depart dwelling with a sound understanding of the Celeste shirt, of who and what it represents.

The likes of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani had been early graduates of this Below-20 course of. Since then tons extra have gone down the identical path. Simply as Bielsa is doing now, for almost 20 years Uruguay have constantly been in a position to clean up their senior squad with those that have made impression within the Below-20 aspect.

And loads of their neighbours try to do one thing related. The Colombia squad to face Iraq and Germany over the following few days doesn’t embrace James Rodriguez or Radamel Falcao Garcia. However left again Andres Salazar is in, as are Watford’s attacking midfielder Yasser Asprilla and thrilling winger Oscar Cortes — all of whom had been spectacular within the Below-20 World Cup. Ecuador — who face Bolivia and Costa Rica — have promoted 16-year-old sensation Kendry Paez, certain for Chelsea in a few years. The left footed attacking midfielder or help striker confirmed flashes of actual high quality within the Below-20 match, and appeared to relish the duty positioned upon him. He’s simply younger sufficient to play within the subsequent Below-20 match in 2025 — however Ecuador will hope that by then he’s already a longtime worldwide serving to them in the direction of the senior World Cup the next yr.

Now that Below-20 soccer makes approach as soon as extra to the senior groups, this South American era can look forward — along with subsequent yr’s 2024 Olympics — the upcoming editions of the Copa America and the World Cup. As soon as all these tournaments are executed, we are able to look again at this yr’s Below-20 aspect and are available to arduous conclusions about whether or not anybody else other than Uruguay has one thing to have a good time.


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