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Copa America

Five things we learned as Uruguay drew against Chile in Copa America

Published at :June 22, 2021 at 7:25 PM
Modified at :June 22, 2021 at 7:25 PM
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Sudesh Baniya


Arturo Vidal's own goal helped La Celeste to secure a point on Tuesday early morning.

Uruguay avoided a second consecutive loss as Chile scored an own goal to finish the game as a draw. Chile took the lead off Eduardo Vargas' goal – and their only shot on target – in the 23rd minute. Following a victory against Bolivia, Chile were denied a victory due to Arturo Vidal's 66-minute own goal.

Chile, playing their third game at the Copa America, have managed a win and two draws so far. Although they lost to Uruguay 2-1 away in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, they missed yet another opportunity to secure a win.

Despite being all-square involving an own goal, the game had plenty of points to talk about. Here are five key highlights from the clash between Uruguay and Chile.

5. Uruguay's improved performance

Uruguay put out a lackluster performance in their Copa America opener against Argentina. Their 1-0 loss was a result of their disjointed attack and rustic transitions. However, Oscar Tabarez's side looked noticeably better against Chile on Tuesday.

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Watch: Uruguay 1-1 Chile highlights

Uruguay, fielding a 4-3-1-2 formation, were able to get the ball to Cavani and Suarez upfront – something that they failed to do against Argentina. In addition, La Celeste were able to dominate possession and get some shots on target early in the game. Despite being the inferior side in the first 45 minutes, Uruguay managed seven shots, and only improved the tally in the second half. Uruguay ended the match with 16 shots compared to Chile's seven.

Chile were intense in the first half, but faded off and let Uruguay become comfortable as the game progressed.

4. Uruguay's style of progression and Fede Valverde

At Real Madrid, Fede Valverde is tasked to make progressive runs from his own half to the final third. However, he had a very moderate performance. Valverde's ball retention skill was missing against Chile, as he lost possession eight times during the match. This also hinted at Uruguay's preferred style of progression.

Uruguay were dispossessed 121 times in the game and switched to playing long balls and crosses to find the two strikers upfront. They attempted 50 long passes and 28 crosses, only eight of which were successful. Similarly, seven out of Uruguay's 16 shots came from outside the box. Their attempt to test the Chilean keeper with long balls was prominent throughout the game.

3. Chile's astute defending and burst of intensity

Throughout Copa America 2021, Chile have shown the tendency to boost up their intensity suddenly for a short period of time. Against Argentina, they equalized following a similar run that roughly lasted 20 mins. Against Uruguay as well, they showed a similar character. As a result, Chile created pressure towards the 15-minute mark, and came out with a goal.

However, the Chileans have not been able to prolong these chunks, which continued against Uruguay as well. When they were forced to be at the backfoot, Chile defended well off the ball. Martín Lasarte's side maintained a rigid structure and limited spaces between their lines to make progression difficult for Uruguay. This was the sole reason behind the Chilean side not conceding more goals despite Uruguay creating many chances.

2. The combination of Chilean forwards

Eduardo Vargas and Ben Brereton led the line for Chile against Uruguay. Both were key in the only goal that Chile produced, as they frequently interchanged quick passes to unlock the Uruguayan defense.

The Blackburn Rovers forward created spaces for Vargas to run into a couple of times within the opening 20 minutes. Vargas's tendency to get inside the box in spaces created by Brereton's movement was the main reason of Chile's first goal. As the 22-year-old drew defenders and released a through ball, Vargas made the most out of it to make a run and score past Muslera.

1. Uruguay's difference-making substitutions

Despite coming into the second half trailing by a goal, Uruguay's intensity and plan came alive with some well-executed in-game management. Tabarez's decision to take out Gonzalez and Arrascaeta to introduce Facundo Torres and Nahitan Nandez paid off well. Uruguay's gameplay improved significantly in the second half, as they were able to reach their target men very frequently.

In addition, Uruguay were able to dominate possession and unleash the players operating from wider areas after fresh legs were put on. The equalizer, despite coming from an own goal, was induced on the basis of this increased pressure on the Chilean defense.

Matias Vina and Nandez, operating from the left and right respectively were crucial in planting the balls for Cavani and Suarez to make a shot on target. Despite not being as successful as they would have liked to be, this certainly improved Uruguayan grip in the game. Ultimately, Uruguay maintained the scoreline and eliminated Chile's chances of producing goal-scoring opportunities.

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