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Uruguay 0-2 Brazil: 5 talking points as Copa America champions continue perfect start | 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers

Brazil are now the only side with a 100% win record in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers after 4 games.
Brazil are now the only side with a 100% win record in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers after 4 games.
Sachin Bhat
ANALYST

In the biggest matchup of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign, Brazil defeated Uruguay 2-0 in Montevideo to continue their perfect start.

Arthur and Richarlison were on target for the reigning Copa America champions, with La Celeste now winless in 11 games against their mighty neighbours.

With top-scorer Luis Suarez sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19, Oscar Tabarez's side struggled to string together attacks. Edinson Cavani's sending off in the second-half for stamping on Richarlison further compounded Uruguay's misery.

The defeat, Uruguay's second of the qualifying campaign, relegates them to fifth in the standings whereas the Canaries consolidate their position at the top with 12 points out of 12.

On that note, here are the major talking points from the match:

#1 Tite's tactical switch liberates Brazil

Tite made some minor yet significant tweaks which opened up Brazil.
Tite made some minor yet significant tweaks which opened up Brazil.

Brazil's perfect start to the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign shows that they're once again the team to beat. However, it doesn't tell the whole story.

In the last game, the Copa America holders huffed and puffed against Venezuela, only sneaking through with a narrow 1-0 win courtesy of a late strike from Roberto Firmino. That was a classic example of Brazil's shortcomings against teams who sit deep and employ a low block, but Tite's rigid formation also played its part.

The attacking frontline, with Richarlison as the centre-forward and flanked by Firmino on the left and Jesus on the right, looked very disjointed, and Douglas Luiz was wasted on the right side of the midfield three.

Against Uruguay, the Brazil manager switched to a 4-4-2. The result was that Brazil's attack was far more fluid than what it was at the weekend; Jesus and Richarlison spearheaded the lineup, and Firmino played at the tip of the midfield. It was no wonder that both the men up front had a hand in Brazil's goals.

Adding a further edge to the attack was Everton Ribeiro, who was superb with his marauding runs as the right-winger. He provided great width down the flank in Philippe Coutinho's absence.

Even though it was not a vintage performance, Brazil showed far greater attacking efficiency against Uruguay, managing four shots on target from six attempts compared to only three in 11 in their last game.


#2 Edinson Cavani receives a contentious red card

Edinson Cavani was shown a straight red card for trampling on Richarlison, but only after a VAR review
Edinson Cavani was shown a straight red card for trampling on Richarlison, but only after a VAR review

Uruguay's night was made worse when their star striker Edinson Cavani was sent off for a rash challenge on Richarlison, with 20 minutes remaining on the clock. The referee had initially brandished a yellow, but after a review on the pitchside monitor, he changed his decision to red.

It appeared that Cavani wasn't really deserving of the red card. He sure appeared to stamp on the Everton man, but it wasn't intentional, was it? The Manchester United star was in full flow at that moment, and the foul was purely by accident.

According to the International Football Association Board, a player can get sent off for a 'reckless challenge' which 'endangers the safety of the opponent', or for 'using excessive force'. So now, where do you put Cavani's foul here? His challenge surely left Richarlison in a heap, but was it reckless? No. Did he use excessive force? No, he didn't.

Everyone will have their own opinion on this. But this episode might have a huge impact when Uruguay face Argentina away from home in March. That is because Cavani, who had a heated argument with the touchline referee, will play no part in the game.

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Edited by Bhargav
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