Uruguay's style shone through in Copa America win over Brazil, says Bielsa


Uruguay's diligence and resilience under pressure after going a man down against Brazil in Saturday's Copa America quarter-final victory put the team's distinctive character in the spotlight, coach Marcelo Bielsa said.

Uruguay lost Nahitan Nandez to a red card on a VAR review, which reduced their side to 10 men for the final stages of the second half, but they shut shop and defended resolutely to take the match to penalties where they prevailed 4-2.

"Everything that happens, happens Uruguayan style, because the players are the ones that give their all to the team," Bielsa told reporters.

"It was a match with very little goal opportunities, highly contested, very close, even with very little changes in possession. When we were one man down, we decided to dedicate ourselves to defending in our half.

"So holding on to that result as the Uruguayan team did shows the profile of Uruguayan football. And they were very calm in the penalty shootout that demands not only accuracy but also character."

Bielsa's teams are usually characterised by relentless attacking football and no team has scored more goals in the tournament than Uruguay, who netted nine times in the group stage.

But three straight clean sheets have also helped Uruguay book a semi-final against Colombia and Bielsa was quick to praise his squad's mentality rather than take credit for their defensive record.

"I am a bit more drawn to the offensive than the defensive game, but in a match that was as tight as this one, we created one more opportunity than our opponent and we defended well," Bielsa added.

"There was a Uruguayan coach that said that... I would learn how to defend on the pitch and that is true because Uruguay is very consistent in defence.

"They played against Mexico (in a friendly), USA and Brazil, and kept clean sheets. I do think that defensively, not because I achieved it but because the players are inherently good at defending, that they are very good at keeping a clean sheet."

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