“The old men continue to comply,” Luis Súarez told MD at the exit of the San Carlos de Apoquindo Stadium in Santiago de Chile, where Uruguay won away to Chile 0-2 on the last day of the South American Qualifiers. It was not just another match, despite the fact that the sky-blue team was already qualified for the World Cup and Chile only aspired to a miracle, which did not happen.
The one last night at the foot of the Andes Mountains “was my last game in the Qualifiers”, as the striker also accepted MD. And in the farewell, for dessert, a magnificent Chilean in the complement opened the can for the celestial triumph. In addition, he consecrated Suárez as the all-time top scorer in the South American Qualifiers, with 29 conquests, surpassing by one, Leo Messi’s 28 goals with the Argentine team in the same competition. And since neither one nor the other will play for Qualifiers again, the historical table will remain like this.
For Uruguay it was a perfect closing. Already classified, he won again, he triumphed again as a visitor, and accumulated four consecutive victories. In fact, since Diego Alonso took charge of the national team after 15 years of Maestro Tabárez, he has not stopped winning. He triumphed in the last four games in which Alonso directed the sky blue. In the first 14 games he had achieved 16 points. In the last four, since Alonso is the DT, he has made 12 points. Not even the most optimistic would have dreamed of this present, after a disastrous October and November, which plunged Uruguay to seventh place. In the end, he finished third, a pure victory and throwing the cap.
The night at the foot of the Andes had more positive elements for Uruguay. Fede Valverde, a very good game, closed the game with a spectacular goal. To the upper left corner, shooting with unusual violence, but also with pinpoint precision.
It was not the only great shot by Valverde. At 10 minutes he tried from 40 meters. The ball gave the sensation of going far, but in the air it began to double, in the best style of the shots of the Brazilian Roberto Carlos, and if it were not for the remarkable effort of the trans-Andean goalkeeper Braian Cortez, the ball would have been destined for the net.
Coach Alonso tried variants in the starting eleven, but kept Ronald Araújo on the right side, who complied. He suffered a strong blow in the complement, but continued to play.
Chile needed a miracle. Win and be accompanied by the results of Peru and Colombia. Too much to ask of the gods. The points that he did not achieve before, today ended up taking their toll and eliminated him from the World Cup. Likewise, its people bid farewell to the national team with applause, in recognition of a generation that is leaving (if it is not already gone, in the case of Vidal, Medel, Alexis Sánchez), and that achieved for Chile the titles that throughout its history had denied him: twice winner of the Copa América.
Uruguay ratified that the World Cup “will not go for a walk”, as its coach affirmed. The “Fantastic Five” who have resisted since South Africa 2010, Suárez, Godín, Cavani, Muslera and Cáceres will now have their last dance. The youngsters who show up, in the case of Rodrigo Bentancur and Fede Valverde, will put distinction in the middle of the field. Ronald Araujo, the strength of the brand in his first World Cup. Giorgian De Arrascaeta, halfway through the race, goes for the consecration of him. Matías Olivera, for being the revelation.
Between now and November a lot of water will pass under the bridge. But today, there is an irrefutable fact: Uruguay got back on track. And again, never favorites. But always the uncomfortable rival that no one wants to face.
0 – Chile: Brayan Cortes; Island, Medel, Kuscevic, Suazo; Thumb (Diego Valdés, m.67) Aránguiz, Vidal (Jean Meneses, m.81); Montecinos, Sánchez and Brereton (Ronnie Fernández, m.80).
Coach: Martin Lasarte
2 – Uruguay: Rochet; Araujo, Godin, Coates, Viña; Torreira (Ugarte, m.74), Valverde; Bentancur (Maxi Gómez, m.74), De la Cruz (De Arrascaeta, m.62), Rossi (Suárez, m.74); Cavani (Suarez, m.28)
Coach: Diego Alonso.
Goals: 0-1, Luis Suarez (m. 78); 0-2, Fede Valverde (d. 90)
Referee: Patricio Loustau (ARG). He admonished Kuscevic, Medel and Betancourt
Incidents: match of the eighteenth and last day of the South American qualifiers for the Qatar World Cup played at the San Carlos de Apoquindo stadium