Can former Inter Miami coach Diego Alonso lead Uruguay and save World Cup hopes for Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez?

UruguayOur new coach has a tough move to follow. Oscar Washington Tabarez’s nearly 16-year reign has been epic, taking the team to three World Cups after missing three of the previous four, essentially pulling the two-time winners back into place. soccer’s top.

The dream was to beat Qatar next year, but the sudden collapse in qualification, with four consecutive defeats, was forced to change. There was briefly hope that River Plate’s Marcelo Gallardo might be tempted to take the job. There are speculations that he may be ready to move on and that he has already begun his coaching career in Uruguay. But he has announced that he will stay in Argentina.

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Then, former striker and under-20 coach Diego Aguirre – a conventional counter-attacking coach – seemed to have made up his mind. But in the end Uruguay went in a potentially more interesting direction.

The man has been given the job, Diego Alonso, less predictable, and more engaging. A tall striker whose club career began and ended in Uruguay, Alonso has played in Argentina, several clubs in Spain (most notably Valencia), Mexico and China. He played a few games for the national team, notably in the 1999 Copa America, and ended his playing days with the Penarol team reaching the 2011 Copa Libertadores final – the last match that a single sentence had. Club of Uruguay won the major league championship of South America. The club has been playing since the late 1980s.

Alonso owes his longevity to an abundance of talent – and more than that, a wonderful combination of determination and intelligence. These qualities quickly showed when he became a coach. After a brief stint in charge of diminutive Bella Vista in Uruguay, Alonso announced his coaching credentials for the first time with Guarani in neighboring Paraguay. The way he goes about his business can be an interestingly unorthodox one. He said, for example, that there would be no whining about the referees. Sometimes they made mistakes. Sometimes they are not very good. They may even be biased.

But this is out of his and his team’s control – so adapt and live with it. During practice games, he sometimes took the whistle and deliberately made bad decisions – preparing the players for the setbacks they might have to overcome on match day. In the world of football, where few people want to take responsibility and so everyone wants to blame the referee, this is a logical and rare and novel approach.

Alonso’s coaching career is clearly one that needs to be continued. It took him all over the Americas. His time last year with Major League Soccer’s Inter Miami CF not a success. But before that, he won the CONCACAF Champions League with two Mexican clubs, Pachuca and Monterrey. And life also brought him back to Spain, where he has been since leaving Miami.

Alonso’s Spanish connections helped him land a new job. Inside the Uruguayan Football Federation, it is clear that one of the things in Alonso’s favor is that he will bring in Oscar Ortega, Atlético MadridUruguayan fitness specialist. And a few Atletico Madrid players will now be the focus of the new coach.

Center-back Jose Maria Gimenez may be prone to injury. Uruguay will want to wrap him in cotton wool. The stats speak for themselves. In 10 World Cup qualifying matches that Gimenez has participated in, Uruguay has conceded 9 goals. Of the 4 goals they conceded, they conceded 12. This is the part of the team that needs an extension. Brazil Recently, they licked their lips when they met Uruguay with Diego Godin and Sebastian Coates. “Two slow central defenders!” A member of the Brazilian coaching staff said when the team won 4-1.

What can Alonso do? Give more responsibility to Barcelona‘S Ronald Araujo? Or bring in some new faces? And with the goalkeeper Fernando Muslera inactive for a while, a replacement is required. Sergio Rochet of Nacional? It was a big decision – as well as a choice that Alonso needed to make first, in another dilemma involving an Atletico Madrid player. To be Luis Suarez Still the main striker? Can Uruguay play with the veteran combination of Suarez and Edinson Cavani?

He has other options ahead of him, headed by Benfica‘S Darwin Nunez. But at least as important as the name suggests is the shape of the side. Recent evidence suggests that the team are now playing their best football with a plug-in striker, a squad that seems to be able to bring to life a generation of talented midfielders. But Alonso will not face the main problem undermining the final stages of Tabarez’s reign – as provided by the fixture list.

In September, Uruguay picked up seven points from their three matches. No one did better. But then things got more difficult. Four consecutive defeats at home and away against Argentina, against Brazil and away Bolivia at the maximum altitude of La Paz. It was a nightmare.

Uruguay finished seventh in CONMEBOL’s qualifying group but they were only one point behind the fourth-placed, final-place automatic qualifier, and fifth, the play-off spot.

In theory, things look much easier for Alonso in the last four rounds. Next month his team travels to meet Paraguay, who just beat Venezuela throughout the campaign. Then they are at home against Venezuela, who have lost all their away matches. Then, in March, they stay at home to Peru – a match Uruguay always expected to win, before ending the campaign in a potentially difficult match Chile.

With a relatively short list of friendly matches ahead, Alonso’s Uruguay certainly cannot lack a big point. And if it is proven beyond them, it will be a real surprise if he blames the referees. Can former Inter Miami coach Diego Alonso lead Uruguay and save World Cup hopes for Edinson Cavani, Luis Suarez?

Jake Nichol

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