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Recap: Canada shutout by Uruguay in penultimate World Cup friendly

Les Rouges fall 2-0 to La Celeste in Bratislava.

Stephen Eustaquio challenges Luis Suarez during the first half of Canada’s friendly against Uruguay in Bratislava.
Photo by VLADIMIR SIMICEK/AFP via Getty Images

Canada were defeated 2-0 by Uruguay on Tuesday thanks to two first half goals from La Celeste in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Nicolas de la Cruz scored a direct free kick in the sixth minute before Darwin Nunez headed in a second in the 33rd.

Uruguay entered the match eager to show off their quality after a humbling 1-0 loss to Iran in their previous friendly. The two-time World Cup winners were awarded an early set piece opportunity after Canada defender Kamal Miller was called for a foul on Agustin Canobbio. Milan Borjan was able to get a hand on the ball, but could not deny de la Cruz as the winger fired his team to an early lead.

Canada looked to respond by pushing much of their play through Alphonso Davies down the left. Canada’s star was taking up in advanced role like he did in the win against Qatar four days prior. With Uruguay looking to contain Davies, he attempted to play in his teammates.

In the 24th minute, the Edmonton native worked it to Jonathan David, who fooled Federico Valverde and shot on his left foot, but Uruguay keeper Sergio Rochet was equal to it.

Nunez came close to doubling the lead in the 28th when the Liverpool striker beat Alistair Johnston to a cross from Uruguay captain Luis Suarez, but sent a volley over the crossbar.

The $78 million man wouldn’t make the same mistake twice, beating Johnston again to head home another delivery from Suarez to make it 2-0 Uruguay in the 33rd minute.

Davies tried to get his team back in it as Les Rouges finished the first half strong. He fed the ball to Cyle Larin who had space in front of goal but the striker’s shot was blocked. Soon after, Davies played David through, but Rochet rushed out of his goal to stop the forward in his tracks.

Diego Alonso’s Uruguay pressed selectively and allowed Canada some possession in the middle of the pitch. Operating in a 4-4-2 shape, the two blocks of four were compact as they looked to deny the Canucks any space in between the lines.

Canada would see a lot of the ball in the second half as they searched for a way back into the game, with Uruguay allowing John Herdman’s team to play the game in front of them.

The best chance of the half would fall to David, who received a pass from Davies in the 63rd and aimed for a far post curler from the corner of the penalty area. Rochet got a hand to the ball to push it out for a corner kick.

Herdman made adjustments to his lineup in hopes of sparking the attack. The head coach subbed in Ike Ugbo for Larin and switched to a back four with the introductions of Theo Corbeanu and Tajon Buchanan, with Buchanan making his return from a quad injury.

It was a resolute defensive effort from the South American side in the second half as they were able to hold onto the clean sheet.

Alphonso Davies attempts to get by Federico Valverde during the friendly match between Canada and Uruguay in Bratislava.
Photo by VLADIMIR SIMICEK/AFP via Getty Images

Speaking to OneSoccer after the match, midfielder Stephen Eustaquio spoke highly of Canada’s performance.

“I’m just proud of the guys,” Eustaquio said.

“We controlled the game on both sides, we had our chances but we just didn’t finish them.”

Canada’s players will now return to their respective clubs following the conclusion of the international break, as club competitions recommence on the weekend.

The Canadian men’s national team will be back in action on November 17th as they take on Japan in the final tuneup match before they kickoff their World Cup against Belgium on November 23rd.