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Uruguay's Alonso denies defensive approach in Korea World Cup stalemate

Uruguay's Alonso denies defensive approach in Korea World Cup stalemate

November 24, 2022 (AFP)

Uruguay coach Diego Alonso hit back at accusations his side was too defensive in Thursday's 0-0 World Cup draw with South Korea, pointing to his attacking line-up.

Alonso started with veteran Luis Suarez, Liverpool's Darwin Nunez and Manchester United youngster Facundo Pellistri in a forward trio that at times looked disjointed.

Pellistri played as a conventional right winger but Nunez mostly drifted inside from the left to the central position occupied by Suarez.

It left a lot of space down the Uruguay left that the Korea attacked relentlessly in a dynamic opening period.

Uruguay were slow out of the blocks but Alonso pointed to his side hitting the woodwork twice as proof they had tried to win the game.

"Well obviously the characteristics of the starting XI were mostly attacking players," said the coach.

"We had Darwin, Suarez and Pellistri, we also had three goalscoring midfielders and fullbacks that can push up."

He added: "I like to defend higher but in the first half we struggled to do that. In the second half we were better.

"We lacked a bit of precision to create more chances, we lacked the passing combinations we usually have."

Uruguay captain Diego Godin hit the woodwork in the first half and Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde did the same in injury time.

Godin said the team needed to get over their disappointment quickly with clashes against Ghana and Group H favourites Portugal to come.

"In a tournament like this there's no time to have regrets, you have to think about the next match," he said.

"We have to correct things, improve what we can, we need to grow and get better, we have the players to give quite a bit more."

While Godin was playing in his fourth World Cup, man-of-the-match Valverde was delighted to make his tournament bow.

"This is a dream come true," he said. "I really enjoyed this. I was really anxious before the game but it was a beautiful experience.

"I'm very happy. Physically, I ended the game well. I'm sad not to have won but I congratulate my teammates who gave everything.

"They showed great commitment and if we keep working like this, I think we'll go far."

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