Sunday 30 October 2016, 12:14

Quinteros: Uruguay have defensive flaws

Played four, won four; scored 14, conceded zero. Those are Uruguay’s home statistics in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifying. Gustavo Quinteros nevertheless believes La Celeste have defensive flaws, and that his Ecuador side can triumph in Montevideo on 10 November.

“I think we can win there,” said the former Boivia defender, who did an admirable marking job on Karl-Heinz Riedle at USA 1994. “Uruguay have won every game at home, they’re very solid, but they also have weaknesses.

“Venezuela and Peru had very clear chances against Uruguay. If they had taken them, perhaps the outcome would have been different. Venezuela spurned two clear goals in the first half, then Uruguay scored with their first attack and went on to win a game they didn’t deserve to be leading at that time. Uruguay have defensive flaws.

“We will have to apply ourselves correctly, stay focused, and we must be solid defensively because if you’re not, Uruguay are unforgiving. But if Ecuador play well, we can beat anyone.”

Uruguay are second in South American qualifying, three points above Ecuador and Colombia. Argentina are a further point back in fifth. La Tricolor beat La Celeste 2-1 in the teams’ first meeting last November thanks to goals from Felipe Caicedo and Fidel Martinez.

Ecuador had never qualified for the World Cup until 2002, but have now competed in three of its last four editions. Uruguay have participated in 12 World Cups – a figure bettered only by Brazil (20), Germany (18), Italy (18), Argentina (16), Mexico (15), England (14), France (14) and Spain (14).