Maradona’s insult, Onion’s punch, and Bielsa’s spy: everything that happened in Uruguay-Argentina


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Maradona's insult, Onion's punch, and Bielsa's spy: everything that happened in Uruguay-Argentina

Uruguay and Argentina star in one of the oldest classics in the history of world football, however, for the Qualifiers they barely played six games in the Centennial.

Each duel had its peculiarities. Uruguayans and Argentines met in the qualifying processes for the World Cups in France 1998, Korea-Japan 2002, Germany 2006, South Africa 2010, Brazil 2014 and Russia 2018.

ESPN review all the stories of the duels played in the Centennial.

Francescoli’s goodbye

Uruguay 0 – Argentina 0 / France 1998 World Cup Qualifiers

Uruguay came tumbling. Gone was the process of Héctor Núñez winning the Copa América in 1995. On the sixth date of the Qualifiers for the 1998 World Cup in France, the Celestial lost 0-1 with Chile in Santiago and DT was dismissed.

In his place, Juan Ahuntchain was appointed. DT made his debut against Peru and a few days later he faced Argentina in the Centennial.

Before the game, the current Atlético Madrid coach, Diego Simeone, said that he was coming to the Centennial with “the knife between his teeth” to show what the games were against Uruguay.

The teams had great figures. Paolo Montero, Cedrés, Francescoli, Bengoechea, Fonseca played for the celestial, while in Argentina Batistuta, Ortega, Simeone, Almeyda did.

Despite the stars of both sides, the game ended 0-0. That eliminatory process meant the final goodbye of Enzo Francescoli from the Uruguay team.

The spy from Bielsa

Uruguay 1 – Argentina 1 / Korea-Japan 2002 World Cup Qualifiers

Tarpaulins around the field, motorized police officers touring the area, members of the coaching staff walking around, was the legacy left by Daniel Passarella at the Uruguayan team’s training ground.

It is that one of the most incredible stories of the classic was that of the spy camouflaged as a journalist who sent the Argentine coach of that time, Marcelo Bielsa, to a training session in Uruguay.

Tremendous commotion arose in November 2001 when the man who sent Bielsa was detected walking through the streets surrounding the Posta del Lago field with the intention of watching Uruguay training. The spy was arrested by the police and removed from the scene.

“It is true that a person who works for us went to observe the rival, but that does not mean that he is a spy. Gabriel Guanier is a journalist, certified coach, who collaborated and is currently collaborating with me, but he gets as much information as he can loyally and legally obtain. Going to see what the rival is doing is not spying. This word means a concealment that we have never contemplated. He went through the training of the Uruguayan team, he asked if he could do it from the only place there was to see, they told him no and he left ”, Bielsa acknowledged at that time.

Non-aggression pact

Uruguay 1 – Argentina 0 / Germany 2006 World Cup Qualifiers

The precedent of the 2002 Korea-Japan process was still alive. The Argentine newspapers had titled about that 1 to 1 tie, which helped Uruguay to go to the Repechage, “Big Brother”. A clear allusion to the fact that the Argentines took their foot off the gas in the game.

But the curious thing about the case was that, in the qualifying process for the 2006 World Cup, the fact was reiterated. Before the game Diego Armando Maradona shot on Fox Sports: “The Chileans and Colombians had 17 games to qualify and now they hope that Argentina will save them. Let them not talk about dignity ”.

And Juan Ramón Carrasco was always convinced of an unsigned pact and expressed: “It is well known. Here (in Uruguay) everyone knows, that they arranged to tie because Argentina was already classified ”.

Maradona’s statements

Uruguay 0 – Argentina 1/2010 South Africa World Cup Qualifiers

Argentina had never won an official match at the Centennial. At stake were 108 years of history. And Maradona arrived … The historic 10 was the coach of the Albicelestes on the way to the 2010 World Cup.

The Eliminatory was being suffered for the Argentines. On the night of October 14, 2009, the historic Montevideo stage was packed with fans. The match was heads or tails. The one who won qualified, the one who lost went to the Repechage.

The Uruguayans had the possibility of leaving the Argentines out of the World Cup but, with five minutes remaining, Mario Bolatti scored the most significant goal of his career to give Argentina the victory.

The game entered history by the subsequent statement of the Albicelestes coach, Diego Armando Maradona. In the middle of the conference, he surprised locals and strangers by saying to a journalist: “You have it inside. Those who did not believe, with forgiveness of the ladies, to suck it. Let them keep sucking it. I am black or white. I will not be gray in my life. You treated me like you treated me. Keep sucking. I thank my players and the Argentine people. Nothing but them. The others, keep sucking it ”.

That match marked another significant event. At the end, the Uruguayan midfielder Cristian Cebolla Rodríguez punched Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze.

El Cebolla recounted in the book Let’s Go: “When I entered, many players went to provoke me. They bitched me, they hit me. If we won we were already going straight, and we didn’t score a goal. Imagine how we were. It was a play that did not appear on television. Gabriel Heinze was marking me and the game ended. He came to me because he has a style of fighting, of searching. And how he came to find me. Like he threw a head butt at me and I dodged him, and I couldn’t stand two seconds that I hit him. They gave me four games of suspension. And well…”. The sanction was decisive for Tabárez to leave Onion off the list of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Cavani’s crush

Uruguay 3 – Argentina 2 / World Cup Qualifiers in Brazil 2014

On October 15, 2013, Uruguay received Argentina again with the string around its neck. The celestial ones faced the classic with the obligation to win. And they did it in a dramatic match that ended 3-2 in favor of the locals.

The Uruguayans took out tickets to see Lionel Messi and ended up admiring Maxi Rodríguez, who a few years later became a Peñarol player. In the absence of Messi, Maxi was the captain and scored both goals for his team. But the game ended with Edi Cavani defining with a right hand that broke Sergio Romero’s goal.

Sampaoli smoke

Uruguay 0 – Argentina 0 / Russia 2018 World Cup Qualifiers

Jorge Sampaoli’s visit to the Centennial, as Argentina’s coach, was surrounded by a previous controversy. It is that the aforementioned coach returned after a cross with the Uruguayan captain Diego Godín when he was leading Chile. On that occasion the DT entered the field and insulted the Uruguayan defender.

On August 31, 2017, the coach returned to the Centennial and this time he came across a soundman for his bad attitude of kicking a microphone. The channel TyC Sports captured the moment when Sampaoli exchanged insults with a company technician who televised the game.

“When the U of Chile came and with Chile he had already become a bit stupid. The game started and two minutes later he kicked the microphone “, said the sound engineer Ramiro Silva in the program Crazy About Soccer by Del Sol FM.

After five minutes, Sampaoli kicked the mike again. And 15 minutes later he moved it again. That moment Silva went to face him: “You will not touch the microphone for me anymore, it is the last time you will touch the microphone for me,” he told Sampaoli. “It’s all good, let it warm up, sell the smoke that you have to sell, but let me work,” said the man on the radio.

When the first half ended, a crossword between Sampaoli and the civil servant could be seen. Tenfield that followed DT to the tunnel mouth.


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