Messi, Argentina, shocked by Uruguay in its first South American Qualifiers loss

Although the Celeste won 2-0, Scaloni’s squad remains atop the tournament table

Argentina lost to Uruguay.

Argentina’s men’s national football team lost 2-0 against Uruguay on Thursday at the La Bombonera stadium, its first defeat in the South American Qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup. The Albiceleste were unable to stop the team managed by Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa in a heated match.

Having had to switch from its usual venue at River Plate’s Monumental stadium due to the state of the pitch after three Taylor Swift concerts, Argentina hosted the game at Boca’s iconic ground. The team was undefeated over ten previous South American Qualifiers matches held in the stadium.

The game was intensely contested from the get go, with Uruguay ready to take the game to Argentina. The Celeste stepped up the heat with Bielsa’s trademark high-pressing style of play, which managed to get Scaloni’s team off its stride. Although the first half of play was poor, the game spiced up due to clashes between players. The highlight was a vulgar gesture by Uruguay’s Manuel Ugarte, which ignited the ire of Rodrigo de Paul and the rest of the squad.

With Argentina unable to create scoring chances and Uruguay set on hitting on the counter, it was actually a recovery in the Albiceleste’s own third by Uruguayan Matías Viña that set off the opener via a cross by Ronald Araujo to make it 1-0. This was the first goal Argentina’s goalkeeper Emiliano “Dibu” Martínez has surrendered since France’s Kylian Mbappé scored three times against him in the World Cup final.

In the second half, each team seemed to go double or nothing. Argentina had the ball more but was still disorganized and untidy in possession. Uruguay digged in its heels and looked for an even deadlier counter.

It was precisely on a counterattack that Uruguay managed to double its lead. Midfielder Nicolás de la Cruz recovered the ball deep in his own half and set off Celeste striker Darwin Núñez to run with an open field ahead of him to score the final 2-0.

This was Argentina’s first defeat in 14 games, its first since its debut loss against Saudi Arabia in the 2022 World Cup. The national team’s first official loss at the Bombonera also broke the Albiceleste 25-game unbeaten streak in the South American Qualifiers. For Uruguay, this was it’s first win away to Argentina since 1987 (it’s 2011 Copa America triumph came on penalties), and its first in the Qualifiers.

“They made it difficult for us,” said Argentina captain Lionel Messi. “They are intense; they have physical and fast players, and it was difficult for us to find our rhythm. We lost because we didn’t feel comfortable, and we got caught up in their stlye.”

With this result, the Albiceleste remains atop the South American Qualifiers position table with 12 points. Uruguay is second with 10, and Colombia is third with 9. Argentina will continue its South American Qualifiers campaign on November 21 by visiting Brazil, who lost away to Colombia 2-1.


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