Uruguay will have the opportunity to put pressure on the likes of Argentina and Ecuador as they take on Venezuela on Tuesday in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
While the footballing world is enticed about the start of the 2020 European Championship, the South American qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup is becoming the early June spectacle for football fans.
The table is nicely poised with Brazil and Argentina leading, while the others are vying for the remaining two direct qualifying places. The sleeping giants Uruguay and Colombia being outshone by Paraguay and Ecuador has definitely been the talking point of the qualifiers so far.
Uruguay, however, will have the opportunity to push further up the table as they take on Venezuela on Tuesday. La Celeste are currently fifth in the table, with seven points on the board. A win this midweek, though, could potentially see them at least in the top four.
Their opponents Venezuela, on the other hand, are dawdling in ninth place with just three points in five matches. They have won just once while losing their other four games, and are only ahead of tenth-placed Peru, who are the only team yet to win any of the five matches in the South American qualifiers so far.
Venezuela, nevertheless, could potentially overtake both Chile and Bolivia if they can land a surprise win against Uruguay. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over the two sides ahead of this important matchup at Estadio Olimpico de la UCV this midweek.
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La Vinotinto acelera su paso antes de enfrentar a Uruguay
— FVF (@FVF_Oficial) June 6, 2021
With star striker Salomon Rondon unavailable, Venezuela boss Jose Peseiro will have to choose between Fernando Aristegueita and Josef Martinez as the leader of the attack.
Aristegueita was given the nod against Bolivia but might be replaced by Josef Martinez, with Alexander Gonzalez and Romulo Otero hoping to offer the creativity from the wider attacking positions. Peseiro is more than likely to utilise the likes of Jhonder Cadiz and Aristeguieta as options from the bench.
In midfield, Venezuela need proper solidity after conceding thrice in the game against Bolivia. Tomas Rincon usually plays in the advanced midfield role alongside Cristhian Casseres, but might be forced to operate in a deeper role considering the quality of the opposition. As such, we might see a potential 4-2-3-1 with Rincon operating in the double-pivot alongside Junior Moreno during defensive phases.
As for the defensive department, Peseiro doesn’t have too many reasons to make any changes from the last game, despite conceding three goals. The onus will be on Jhon Chancellor to spearhead the Venezuelan defence, with the support of Wilker Angel. The full-backs, though, may have the license to march forward knowing the fact that Venezuela do need to create opportunities, especially on the counter.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Graterol; Rosales, Angel, Chancellor, Villanueva; Moreno, Rincon; Gonzalez, Casseres, Otero; Martinez
Uruguay’s long-serving head coach Oscar Tabarez has a lot of decisions to take in terms of team selection on Tuesday. His team was held to a goalless draw by Paraguay earlier this month, so the 74-year-old will be keen on adding some extra firepower against Venezuela.
Viaje del plantel celeste desde Montevideo hacia Caracas para el partido por #Eliminatorias.
— Selección Uruguaya (@Uruguay) June 7, 2021
While the front two of Luis Suarez and Jonathan Rodriguez remain guaranteed starters, we are expecting a slight change in the wing-back positions. Matias Vina, in particular, might have to make way for Brian Rodriguez, who can add more attacking prowess to Uruguay’s play out wide.
Giovanni Gonzalez, though, is expected to retain his place in the right wing-back slot for Uruguay, hoping to operate in a more flexible role that will see them oscillate between offence and defence.
Speaking of which, La Celeste are widely known for their strong central defensive unit. The experienced back three of Jose Gimenez, Diego Godin and Martin Caceres may once again keep out Sebastian Coates and Ronald Araujo on the bench, even though the former played a key role in helping Sporting CP win the Liga NOS title in Portugal.
And finally, in the midfield department, Tabarez doesn’t have any reason to shift away from his preferred trifecta of Rodrigo Bentancur, Federico Valverde and Matias Vecino as they offer an ideal balance of everything.
Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Muslera; Godin, Jimenez, Caceres; Gonzalez, Bentancur, Valverde, Vecino, B.Rodriguez; J.Rodriguez, Suarez
- Uruguay and Venezuela last met each other back in October 2017 in the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup, when the two sides drew goalless.
- La Celeste dominate this tie in the head-to-head record, having secured 18 wins in 31 head to head encounters with Venezuela, who have won only five times.
- Since a 1-0 triumph in a friendly back in 2006, Venezuela have won only once against Uruguay in all competitions.
- Uruguay’s back-three involving Gimenez, Caceres and Godin share 300 international caps between them.
- Luis Suarez is Uruguay’s all-time top goalscorer with 62 goals to his name, in just 115 appearances for his country.
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Luis Suarez is the undisputed main man for Uruguay, not only as their all-time leading goalscorer but also with his years of experience that becomes a useful asset to the team. The Atletico Madrid forward, though, did not enjoy a great game against Paraguay last time out and will be keen on returning to scoring ways.
Suarez, on a personal level, must find a way to help Uruguay secure a victory against Venezuela, knowing his team simply has to finish in the top four if he is to play in one final World Cup next year. Fortunately for Suarez, Venezuela are not the most stable defensive teams in South America and might struggle in dealing with the 34-year-old’s positional sense and clever movements in the final third.
Venezuela 0-2 Uruguay
Uruguay are heading into this clash determined to seal a victory following a clumsy start to their qualifying campaign. They are undisputedly the better of the two sides and despite their struggles, it will be surprising to see them fail to outclass a Venezuela side that simply doesn’t have the quality to match their neighbours.