The clash between Argentina and Uruguay is one the most historic rivalries in world football and La Albiceleste were looking for a victory to stamp their authority in the group and they did it in a match that was scratchy.

Uruguay – the most successful team in Copa America history with 15 titles – were looking to start their 2021 campaign off on the right foot, though Argentina will be no easy test. Oscar Tabarez’s unit had failed to beat Argentina in their last four meetings, with their last victory coming in World Cup qualifying in 2013.

Uruguay named an experienced line-up in their first match of the Copa America, with all the heavy hitters present.

Muslera was the shot-stopper, while a back four of Giovanni Gonzalez, Gimenez, Godin and Vina looked to protect him. The four in midfield sees Real Madrid’s Fede Valverde, Juventus’ Bentancur and Atletico Madrid’s Lucas Torreira all started along with De La Cruz, who plays in Argentina with River Plate. The two up top was no surprise, as Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani continue their historic partnership.

Argentina made four changes from the XI that drew 1-1 with Chile in their opening fixture. Montiel, Martinez and Tagliafico were replaced by Acuna, Romero and Molina respectively in defence, while Rodriguez slots into midfield ahead of Paredes.

Argentina put the foot on the right paddle as Lionel Messi broke through – he cut inside on the edge of the 18-yard box in traditional style and fired a left-footed curler which is parried by a diving Muslera. The ball popped up a fraction behind Martinez, who could only get his heel to it – steering it towards the touchline.

Messi and De Paul worked a free-kick short, allowing the latter to curl the ball into the far post from a better angle. The header was a good one from Romero, but the goalkeeper dives well to catch the attempt.

De Paul worked a corner-kick short to Messi, who beats his man and fires a cross towards the far post. Rodriguez got the better of Bentancur and managed to put his header off of the post and in!

Again Messi was the inspiration behind an Argentina goal – putting a wonderful cross to the back post for his teammate to attack.

Uruguay have failed to test Emiliano Martinez at all as we approach the 30-minute mark, with the Argentina goalkeeper having little to do aside from picking out Suarez’s cross for Cavani.

Valverde receives a pass down the left and fires a low cross into the penalty area but the delivery was a half-step behind the run of Cavani, allowing Otamendi to come across and made the clearance.

At the stroke of half time – Cavani won a free-kick on the left after drawing a challenge from Romero, who went through the back of the striker in an attempt to get to the ball first.

De La Cruz puts the set-piece into the penalty area looking for Suarez, who took a tumble during the delivery. The ball was cleared but only to the edge of the 18-yard box for Bentancur, who smashed a low shot well wide of the target.

It was a limp 45 minutes for Uruguay, who were needed to lift themselves up.

After the break, they pushed Argentina on the back foot.

A dangerous cross was whipped in from the right by Valverde, but De La Cruz was unable to reach it with an extended leg as a diving Emiliano Martinez made the stop at the foot of the midfielder.

Vina whipped in another dangerous delivery from the left, which managed to miss both the head of Cavani and the outstretched foot of Suarez at the far post.

Suarez attempts a spectacular bicycle-kick from the edge of the penalty area, which was sent narrowly over Emiliano Martinez.

Argentina sat deeper and deeper to weather the storm and in the end, held on to a 1-0 win.


Argentina maintain their unbeaten run.

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