Spain faced off against Uruguay in the U-20 World Cup on Saturday with the European side thought to be one of the heavy favorites to win the tournament. However, the Spaniards were sent home disappointed due a shocking goal in extra time.
The match began as many would have predicted it.
Spain enjoyed the majority of possession, but Uruguay’s incredible defense held strong. The South American side even began to create chances as play was very open early on.
Although both sides created several chances, there were not many clear-cut scoring opportunities that materialized in the first half.
Barcelona winger Gerard Deulofeu then began to give Spain the edge. The Catalan sent in a corner that nearly found the back of the net had it not been for a miraculous save from Uruguayan keeper Guillermo De Amores.
Several minutes later it was again Deulofeu who linked up to create a brilliant chance after receiving the ball from Oliver Torres who did well to break through the defense. Sadly though, Deulofeu would send his glaring chance surprisingly wide.
Uruguay continued to hold tight at the back as they have earned the reputation for having one of the strongest defenses in the tournament. But the offense soon came alive as well.
Gino Acevedo had the best chance of the half for the South Americans after a corner. However, his chance was stopped just feet from the goal, and momentum swung back in favor of Spain.
The second half was very similar to the first 45 minutes of play, except not as many chances came for either side.
Uruguay began to take their chances from outside of the box. A blast from Diego Laxalt forced Spanish keeper Daniel Sotres into action moments before a few long crosses allowed for the Uruguayan forwards to get in behind the Spanish defense.
Spain soon woke up and fell back into their possession-based control, which began to create chances out of nowhere. Yet it was the ability of Spain to win the ball back in the middle of the pitch that almost saw them take the lead.
La Rojita was able to use wing play to get behind the back line of Uruguay with a chance from Jese proving to be the best attacking moment of the game.
But finishing would not be a strong suit for Spain on the night.
The Europeans struggled to place their shots on target and sent far too many chances wide or high of the post. With seemingly easy goals passed up, the match entered extra time to decide a winner.
Extra time began with a substitution of Spanish keeper Ruben Yanez who came on for Sotres, who collided with the goal post in the dying minutes of regular time. But the new keeper would quickly be taken advantage of.
Uruguay sent in a corner after 13 minutes of extra time, which found the head of Felipe Avenatti who did well to finish the chance and stun the Spanish squad.
With less than 20 minutes to mount a comeback, Spain began to play with more risk and it almost paid off. A cross from Oliver Torres found the head of Israel Puerto who should have equalized, but again the chance was sent wide.
Uruguay continued to hold strong in defense and nearly added a second goal. But the final whistle would blow with Uruguay the 1-0 winners in an exciting match.
The disappointment was easily read on the faces of the Spanish players. But Uruguay knew exactly what they had done in defeating La Roja as the squad and coaches celebrated on the pitch.
As Spain heads back home empty-handed, the South Americans will await the winner of Iraq and the Korean Republic.
Was this an upset for Spain? What does a loss like this mean for the U-20 Spanish squad? Can Uruguay build on their impressive performance? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussion on all Spanish football.