Uruguay counting on experience to beat Peru in Copa América
SALVADOR, Brazil (AP) — Uruguay is counting on eight players who have already won Copa América to show their experience and beat Peru in the quarterfinals on Saturday and remain on course for its 16th Copa title.
Goalkeepers Fernando Muslera and Martín Silva; defenders Martín Cáceres, Diego Godín, and Sebastián Coates; midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro; and strikers Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez were all involved in Uruguay’s last title in 2011 in Argentina.
All but backup ’keeper Silva played in the 1-0 win against Chile on Monday and ensured Uruguay topped Group C.
The coach is also the same. Óscar Tabárez has been in charge since 2006.
In 2011, Uruguay beat Peru 2-0 in the semifinals and Paraguay 3-0 in the final.
If the tryouts by Tabárez on Friday in training are confirmed for the match at Arena Fonte Nova, Lodeiro will lose his place in the starting lineup to Nahitan Nández.
The experienced squad is nearly the same that lost to France in the World Cup quarterfinals last year. Only six changes were made to the group of 23 that went to Russia.
Midfielder Giorgian De Arrascaeta, one of Uruguay’s newcomers, trusts Suárez and Cavani to come through with goals.
“Us playing from the midfield onward have to make the ball get to Luis and Edi so they can make the choices with the skills that they have,” De Arrascaeta said.
Another of Uruguay’s younger players is recovering from stomach problems and might sit out on Saturday. Midfielder Lucas Torreira could be replaced by Federico Valverde.
Peru coach Ricardo Gareca, who last year took the team to a World Cup for the first time since 1982, can’t count on experience as much.
Gareca has striker Paolo Guerrero, the top goalscorer of the 2011 Copa América, but midfielder Jefferson Farfán is out injured.
Farfán’s replacement is not yet known, but Peru trainings suggest Guerrero will be moved forward and have André Carrillo, Christian Cueva, and Edison Flores coming from the back to help.
Since a key player will be missing, Gareca has used some can-do spirit before the quarterfinals clash.
A video of a conversation between him and a Peru fan went viral on social media on Thursday, with the coach trying to calm supporters down after the team was thrashed by Brazil 5-0 on Saturday.
“Be calm, we will recover and you will, too, with all the strength,” Gareca said. “We will be fine. You and the national team.”
Striker Guerrero admits the team is frustrated after the heavy defeat against Brazil, but sees “a strong group, without any problems” to face Uruguay.
The winner of the quarterfinal in Salvador will face Colombia or Chile in the semifinals.