…Uruguay to meet Yankees of America in the Quarters.
QUARTERFINAL PAIRINGS AT A GLANCE.
1. Isr. Vs Bra @San Juan on Saturday @ 1830 hrs.
2. Col Vs Ita @ San Juan on Saturday @ 2200 hrs.
3. Ecu/Sko Vs Ngr @ Madre on Sunday @ 1830 hrs.
4. USA Vs Uru @ Madre on Sunday @ 2200 hrs.
Uruguay on Thursday at Madre Stadium in Argentina broke the tail of the Young Scorpions of Gambia where lethal poisons were coming from thereby ending the Gambian dream of being world champions with a long goal victory.
The first half was energy sapping with two red cards on both side as evidence of a keenly contested game. Mansour Mbye from Gambia got the first red in the 17th minute while VAR convinced the Ref to issue a second yellow to Luciano Rodriguez for elbowing a Gambia attacker who seemed to have played rough on him in the 45+4 minute. Retaliation is prohibited in football so he was giving a second yellow card which immediately translates to a red card.
Anderson Duarte blasted home what late Veteran Commentator, Earnest Okonkwo would call Inter Continental Ballistic Missile for the only goal of the match from a forest of players on both sides blocking the view of the Gambian Goalkeeper in the 65th minute. Every effort by the Gambians to equalize proved abortive. They were lucky Uruguay did not score more.
Uruguay will therefore fight for a semifinal ticket against the Yankees of USA on Sunday in the quarterfinal stage.
Gambia had beaten Honduras 2-1 in their first group game; stung France 2-1 and played a barren draw with South Korea. Gambia also gave the sting to the most decorated African team at U20, Flying Eagles at the Continental finals in Egypt winning by a lone goal before Junior Taranga Lions of Senegal trampled on the Scorpions 2-0.
The Young Scorpions of Gambia were making a second appearance at the world cup finals and their best was a round of 16 appearance in 2007.
Uruguay had beaten Iraq 4-0; lost to England 2-3 and piped Tunisia 1-0. Uruguay had beaten Honduras 1-0 on the way to Argentina and also spanked Uzbekistan 2-0
The La Celesta (Sky Blue) of Uruguay had three important friendly matches before landing in Argentina. Uruguay was Humbled 2-0 by Brazil on 13th February 2023; the team beat Honduras by a lone goal on 10th May 2023 and also beat Uzbekistan 2-0 on 13th May 2023. At the Group games, Uruguay thrashed Iraq 4-0 on the 22nd May and on the 25th of May bowed to England 2-3. That means of her last five games, she won 3, lost 2 scoring 9 goals and conceding 5. Note that her two loses were to soccer powers England and Brazil.
Uruguay appeared at the world cup 15 times as against two of Tunisia. Uruguay won Silver twice in 1997 at Malaysia when she lost to Argentina in the final on 5th July as she had beaten Ghana 3-2 AET in the semifinal. In 2013 at Turkey where Paul Pogba of France was Best Player of the tournament, France won 4-2 on penalties after a goalless full time; Uruguay had beaten Iraq 7-6 on penalties after 1-1 at Full time. She won the Bronze at Japan 1979 when Diego Maradona scored winning goal number 2 at 74th minute in the semifinal and went to beat Poland in the Losers’ Final 5-3 on penalties after 1-1 at Full time.
Incidentally Uruguay first 4th place among three times as 4th placed was at Tunisia in 1977; Nigeria 1999 and she lost to Italy 4-1 on penalties at South Korea 2017 in the year England and Venezuela were qualifying for their first final which England won 1-0. Uruguay appeared in the quarterfinals three times in 1981, 1983 and 1993.
The last of the Round of 16 matches will come up at 2200 hours today between Ecuador and South Korea and the winner there will meet the Flying Eagles of Nigeria in the quarterfinals on Sunday at 2200 hours