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Hello fans! Uruguay finished their participation in the Copa América Centenario 2016 in honorable fashion, thumping the Reggae Boyz from Jamaica to take 3rd place in their group. As always, El Bolso is here with his take on this game. Let’s get to it!


Making New Friends


Nico Lodeiro setting up an assist; let's hope for lots of this in the next few months. (Zimbio)
Nico Lodeiro setting up an assist; let’s hope for lots of this in the next few months. (Zimbio)


There’s not a lot of history between Uruguay and Jamaica; in fact, before 2015 they had never met in an official tournament. That changed when Uruguay began last year’s Copa América title defense by beating the Reggae Boyz 1-0 thanks to a second half goal by Cristian “Cebolla” Rodríguez (interestingly enough, that was Uruguay’s last victory in the Copa, as they carried a 5-game winless streak into this week’s game). Before that game the two teams had only played 3 friendlies (2 wins and a loss for the Celestes), but hell, we had so much fun last year, let’s do it again, right? Right.


With both teams already eliminated from contention, well, basically, nobody gave a crap about this game, El Bolso included. I mean, I’m sure it’s always nice for Jamaica to notch a win against a FIFA top 10 team, and both squads wanted to leave the tournament with something in the points column, but yaaaaaawn. Luis Suárez, who got a teensy weensy bit worked up about not playing in the last game, happily sat his ass down on the bench this time. Just about the only thing on the line for the Celestes was the need to improve on their awful play to give themselves a boost going into the summer World Cup qualifiers. Oh I’m sorry, am I not selling this game hard enough? Let me try again. JAMAICA! URUGUAY! PRIDE IS ON THE LINE! FEEL THE BERN!


Routine Checkup


I mean how do you expect the keeper to make the save with that annoying sign in the way? (Getty Images)
I mean how do you expect the keeper to make the save with that annoying sign in the way? (Getty Images)


To the Celestes’ credit, they went out there and played their best game of the tournament, dominating Jamaica and beating them by a 3-0 score. The scoring started in the 21st minute: Nicolás Lodeiro sent an absolute jewel of a pass to Abel “La Joya” Hernández (see what I did there?) and the forward coolly finished to put Uruguay ahead. Hernández had himself quite the game, looking as on point as I’ve seen him in a long time. His partner up front, Edinson Cavani, continued his push towards setting a record for most ridiculous goals missed in one Copa América. Glad you came along, Edi! Anyway, Uruguay was clearly the better team in the first half, but only led by a goal at the break.


The second half was more of the same. The second goal came on another Lodeiro-Hernández combination, coincidentally at the 21st minute mark as well. The former Nacional standout made a run up the left wing and sent another beautiful pass to La Joya. Hernández whiffed on it this time, but not to worry because defender Je-Vaughn Watson was right behind him to clean up the mess and send the ball into his own net. By the way, if you’re looking to learn how to send long passes into the box, you could do worse than to look at Lodeiro’s work in these highlights; those were two textbook assists right there. Let’s hope he can build on that. Uruguay added a late third goal in between Cavani misses, as sub Mathías Corujo (who is best known for being the guy that came in instead of TBGDPITWW against Venezuela) finished off a deep run with a blistering shot that sneaked past the Jamaican goalie.


Now What?


Eyes on the prize... (Kashagan Today)
Eyes on the prize… (Kashagan Today)


As far as the tournament is concerned, the group stage is done and only 8 teams remain: on one side of the bracket USA faces Ecuador and Argentina plays Peru. Peru is here thanks to Uruguayan referee Andres Cunha, who missed a blatant handball in the Incaicos’ last group game against Brazil. The mistake handed Peru a 1-0 win and knocked the heavily favored Canarinha out of the tournament. Unfortunately, it also cost Brazil skipper Dunga his job; I was hoping he’d hang on for a while longer and continue destroying everything the Brazilian jersey stands for. I’m not hating, I just want to see Uruguay in the next World Cup and every little bit helps. On the other side, Mexico will face defending champion Chile, while Colombia takes on Venezuela. I’m still betting on a Mexico-Argentina final. The Albicelestes have been on top of their game, thrashing both Panama (5-0) and Bolivia (4-0, but they pretty much stopped trying after the third goal); Mexico, meanwhile, has an accessible bracket and the home field advantage. El Bolso is going to have to think long and hard about who to root against less in that one.


As far as Uruguay, I’m not going to sugarcoat it, fans: the team played like crap. I know, I know, losing TBGDPITWW at the last moment hurts, but even without Luisito this team is capable of much more. Was this a case of players feeling the pain of the long European season, coupled with having to play deep into the Summer in both 2014 and 2015? did they just not care about this particular tournament? Is it a case of the patented Uruguay “oh crap, we’re doing too well, we better fuck up a few games so BIG CALCULATOR can make their quarterly sales figures? Who knows. I’m hoping the team will come back with a different mindset in two months’ time, when they face Argentina and Paraguay in the qualifiers. I also hope that TBGDPITWW is back at full strength, and he returns to punishing goal nets instead of dugout walls.


That’s all for me, fans. See you in a couple of months!

About El Bolso

El Bolso is Uruguay’s foremost soccer-fan-in-exile, a true authority on the Celeste and its favored son, the Club Nacional de Football. He believes in precision passing, tireless marking, and strong finishing, and is not above the occasional slide tackle from behind when the situation calls for it.