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Estadio La Portada de La Serena, La Serena
  • S. Agüero 56'
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Referee: Sandro Meira Ricci

Argentina v Uruguay preview: Godín wants unity to stop Messi

La Celeste's captain believe there is no single formula to stop the Albiceleste wizard, but hopes a team effort can help them secure a positive result

Diego Godín is hoping that his Uruguay side can work as a group to limit the influence Lionel Messi has when they take on Argentina in La Serena on Tuesday.

More from Goal.com: Transfer news | Ten striker targets

The Rio de la Plata rivals are the Copa América's two most successful nations with 29 titles between them, and they meet in a match that could have huge ramifications on their current campaigns at the Estadio La Portada.

The defending champions look on course to move into the knockout stages after Cristian Rodríguez's winner in an unconvincing display in their opening fixture against Jamaica put them top of Group B at the end of the first round of matches.

Winfried Schäfer's side had more than enough chances to take something from the game but failed to break down a stubborn defence, well marshalled by Godín and José Giménez.

And la Celeste's captain know that they will need a similarly resilient display if they are to stop Argentina - and in particular, Messi - and have a positive campaign.

"In this Copa we want to do good things, so for us to win is good because I told my team-mates that in 10 years with the national team I have never won an opening game. This makes you look at the remaining matches from a different perspective," Godín told La Nacion.

"What happened in the first game is not important. We are going to face the favourites to win the Copa América, with players at a high level that make the difference."We will have to prepare for the game well because it is the only way to counter their individuals. If you do not mark them all it is very difficult to stop Argentina.

"There is no formula to stop Messi, otherwise someone would have already achieved it. There is no single recipe, it's a team effort. We must do it together, because if not it's impossible that he won't hurt us."

Uruguay won the most recent installment of this famous rivalry - a 3-2 success in qualifying for the 2014 World Cup - and may take confidence from seeing Gerardo Martino's side throw away a two-goal lead against Paraguay on their debut.

Argentina had led thanks to goals from Messi and Sergio Agüero and Facundo Roncaglia expects them to be just as lethal despite their disappointment against la Albirroja.

"We have to start thinking a bit more on the pitch and not expect the coach to tell us [what to do] and make the decision ourselves to close ourselves up at the back a bit," he said."If Uruguay tries to match us and we are stopping them well at the back, they will be left unprotected and we know that [Lionel] Messi and [Ángel] Di María and the striker that the coach chooses will always make a difference."

However, Roncaglia may find himself removed from the starting line-up with Pablo Zabaleta available following an ankle injury.

Martino also has Lucas Biglia closer to full fitness and - having come on as a substitute against Paraguay - he could be introduced to stiffen the midfield, with Javier Pastore or Éver Banega forced out.

Argentina have defeated Uruguay in their last three meetings in the Copa América group stages, with their last loss suffered in 1967 when la Celeste were the host nation.

Previous Meetings

  • Argentina 1-0 +Uruguay
    • S. Agüero 56'

    Venue: Estadio La Portada de La Serena

  • Uruguay 3-2 +Argentina
    • C. Rodríguez 6'
    • L. Suárez 34'
    • E. Cavani 49'
    • M. Rodríguez 15'
    • M. Rodríguez 41'

    Venue: Estadio Centenario

  • Argentina 3-0 +Uruguay
    • L. Messi 66'
    • S. Agüero 75'
    • L. Messi 80'

    Venue: Estadio Malvinas Argentinas

  • Argentina 1-1 +Uruguay
    • G. Higuaín 18'
    • D. Pérez 6'

    Venue: Estadio Brigadier General Estanislao López

  • Uruguay 0-1 +Argentina
    • M. Bolatti 84'

    Venue: Estadio Centenario

Argentina's Last 6 Matches

  • Argentina 1-0 +Uruguay
    • S. Agüero 56'

    Venue: Estadio La Portada de La Serena

  • Argentina 2-2 +Paraguay
    • S. Agüero 29'
    • L. Messi 36'
    • N. Valdez 60'
    • L. Barrios 90'

    Venue: Estadio La Portada de La Serena

  • Argentina 5-0 +Bolivia
    • Á. di María 25'
    • S. Agüero 29'
    • S. Agüero 31'
    • S. Agüero 51'
    • Á. di María 55'

    Venue: Estadio San Juan del Bicentenario

  • Argentina 2-1 +Ecuador
    • S. Agüero 8'
    • J. Pastore 58'
    • M. Bolaños 24'

    Venue: MetLife Stadium

  • El Salvador 0-2 +Argentina
    • N. Renderos 54'
    • F. Mancuello 88'

    Venue: FedEx Field

  • Argentina 0-1 +Portugal
    • R. Guerreiro 90+

    Venue: Old Trafford

Uruguay's Last 6 Matches

  • Argentina 1-0 +Uruguay
    • S. Agüero 56'

    Venue: Estadio La Portada de La Serena

  • Uruguay 1-0 +Jamaica
    • C. Rodríguez 52'

    Venue: Estadio Regional Calvo y Bascuñán

  • Uruguay 5-1 +Guatemala
    • D. Rolan 3'
    • E. Cavani 18'
    • E. Cavani 31'
    • G. De Arrascaeta 55'
    • A. Hernández 57'
    • W. Lalín 79'

    Venue: Estadio Centenario

  • Morocco 0-1 +Uruguay
    • E. Cavani 51'

    Venue: Stade d'Agadir

  • Chile 1-2 +Uruguay
    • A. Sánchez 28'
    • D. Rolan 45+
    • Á. González 80'

    Venue: Estadio Monumental David Arellano

  • Uruguay 3-3 +Costa Rica
    • L. Suárez 50'
    • J. Giménez 64'
    • E. Cavani 67'
    • Á. Saborío 42'
    • B. Ruiz 51'
    • J. Venegas 90+

    Venue: Estadio Centenario

Team Lineups

Argentina Starting XI
1 S. Romero  
17 N. Otamendi  
2 E. Garay  
4 P. Zabaleta  
16 M. Rojo  
7 Á. di María  
21 J. Pastore  
14 J. Mascherano  
6 L. Biglia  
11 S. Agüero  
10 L. Messi  
12 N. Guzmán  
23 M. Andújar  
13 M. Casco  
15 M. Demichelis  
3 F. Roncaglia  
5 F. Gago  
8 R. Pereyra  
19 É. Banega  
18 C. Tévez  
20 E. Lamela  
22 E. Lavezzi  
9 G. Higuaín  
G. Martino

Uruguay Starting XI
1 F. Muslera  
16 M. Pereira  
6 Á. Pereira  
2 J. Giménez  
3 D. Godín  
20 Á. González  
17 E. Arévalo  
7 C. Rodríguez  
14 N. Lodeiro  
21 E. Cavani  
9 D. Rolan  
12 R. Muñoz  
23 M. Silva  
19 S. Coates  
4 J. Fucile  
13 G. Silva  
18 M. Corujo  
10 G. De Arrascaeta  
5 C. Sánchez  
15 G. Pereira  
8 A. Hernández  
22 Jonathan Rodríguez  
11 C. Stuani  
Ó. Tabárez

Match Stats

Argentina VS Uruguay

Auto Update
Argentina move into a tie with Paraguay for first place in Group B at four points, with Uruguay right behind them and Jamaica in the cellar. I am Alex Moretto and I would like to thank you all for joining me here today. Good bye!
FULL TIME: ARGENTINA 1-0 URUGUAY. Sergio Aguero provides the decider, getting on the end of a wonderfully-worked goal to provide La Albiceleste with all three points as they take down the defending champions by the skin on their teeth. Uruguay took a while to generate anything in attack and were eventually made to pay, but a few close calls nearly saw them steal an equalizer late on.
Messi and co. hold the ball near the corner flag, playing keep away as the final seconds tic off the clock. That will do it!
Everyone inside the area as Uruguay win a corner. The original delivery is dealt with but the pressure stays on. Two follow-up balls are played into the box, but Hernandez flies into the back of Mascherano, conceding a foul and letting Argentina off the hook. Just one minute remains!
It's a final roll of the dice for Uruguay as they commit everyone forward. They're nearly made to pay as Argentina exploit the space on the counter, three against two, but Godin recovers ever so well to slide in and break up the move.
ROMERO DENIES URUGUAY AT THE DEATH! Brilliant pull-back from Maxi Pereira to pick out Abel Hernandez inside the top of the area. The Hull City striker fires a first-time shot at goal, but it's parried away by a diving Romero! How crucial was that?


Á. di María
R. Pereyra
Substitution Ángel Fabián di María Hernández Roberto Maximiliano Pereyra
BRILLIANT HEADER! Somehow it stays out! That had equalizer written all over it, as Rolan rose to meet a corner, heading down brilliantly, but it's cleared from inside the six-yard box!

Yellow card Á. Pereira

Yellow card Álvaro Daniel Pereira Barragán

Zabaleta has been battered and bruised, and that continues here as Alvaro Pereira slides in with yet another dangerous tackle - sort of a common theme for a match which has been feircely contested.

STAT ATTACK: Argentina have won each of their last three Copa America group matches against Uruguay. Their last defeat against them at this stage of the competition was in 1967, when La Celeste were hosts.

Yellow card S. Romero

Yellow card Sergio Germán Romero
Messi can't believe his luck! He drives a seemingly perfectly placed strike towards the bottom corner, but Muslera does ever so brilliantly to get a hand to it! That would have put an end to the match, so full credit to the Uruguay keeper there.


S. Agüero
C. Tevez

Substitution Sergio Leonel Agüero del Castillo Carlos Alberto Tevez

With Argentina not needing a goal, they won't want to risk Aguero any further. He comes off, to be replaced by the equally dangerous Carlos Tevez.

TREMENDOUS EFFORT! Uruguay have begun to up the tempo and they don't have much of a choice. The ball comes out to Gonzalez from 25-yards out, and he unleashes a wonderful dipping volley that sails just inches over the bar!


J. Pastore
É. Banega
Substitution Javier Matías Pastore Éver Maximiliano David Banega
STRAIGHT AT MUSLERA! Following a corner, Argentina manage to keep possession and pin Uruguay deep in their end. Messi picks up the ball and beats his marker, skipping through to the top of the area, but his final effort isn't up to standard at it's hit straight at Muslera.
Argentina are doing an exceptional job replicating the defensive display put forth by Uruguay in the first half - only they have an actual lead to protect. La Albiceleste have prevented their opponents from creating anything going forward, with their lone chance coming from a rebound following a strike from a long way out.
SHOCKING MISS! Maxi Pereira rifles a shot in from distance, forcing Romero down to his right to make a save. He parries the ball straight into the path of Rolan, who seemed to be taken by surprise as he lifts the rebound over the bar with a gaping goal in front of him!
Every whistle is being followed by a rugby-style scrum! Messi gets the ball and tries to dribble through a mess of bodies before Alvaro Pereira slides in recklessly to concede a foul. Arevalo Rios follows, going face-to-face with the Barcelona forward who isn't backing down. The referee needs to start handing out cautions before this gets out of control.

Yellow card M. Rojo

Yellow card Faustino Marcos Alberto Rojo
Senseless from Garay! Muslera does well to come off his line and claim a Messi free kick amidst a mess of bodies. Garay gets into it with the keeper before Rojo rushes across to bundle him over. Tempers continue to rise and you'd expect nothing less in a derby of this stature!


N. Lodeiro
A. Hernández

Substitution Marcelo Nicolás Lodeiro Benítez Abel Mathías Hernández Platero

In an attempt to provide a greater threat in front of goal, Tabarez has taken off playmaker Lodeiro for striker Abel Hernandez, who makes his first appearance in the tournament. Where will the creativity come from now?

Sanchez doesn't take long making an impact, sprinting down the right side before firing a cross into the area. Romero gets to it first, however, as the chance comes to nothing. Uruguay are in desperate need of a spark in attack.
STAT ATTACK: In the previous six Copa Americas (formerly known as the South American Championship) held in Chile, Argentina have finished in the top two on each occasion – winning each of the last four.

Yellow card D. Godín

Yellow card Diego Roberto Godín Leal


C. Rodríguez
C. Sánchez

Substitution Cristian Gabriel Rodríguez Barrotti Carlos Andrés Sánchez Arcosa

The Onion is off after an underwhelming performance that saw his main contributions come at the wrong end of the pitch. On in his stead is Carlos Sanchez, who started the first match against Jamaica. We'll see what sort of spark he can provide La Celeste.

WHERE'S THE PASS? Messi sprints forward on another one of his adventurous runs and has Di Maria in acres of space on the left. The Barcelona forward opts to go at it himself, however, rolling a harmless shot into the waiting arms of Muslera.
Carlos Tevez and Gonzalo Higuain jump off the bench and begin stretching, in anticipation on having their name called. Aguero is back up, however, and jogs back onto the pitch shortly after play resumes. Perhaps he will be fine to continue after all.
Worrying moments for Argentina. Sergio Aguero came up lame after his celebration, clutching what looked like his shoulder. He seemed to brush it off, but clearly it's caught up to him as he goes down behind the play and the medical staff has to come out to attend to him. What a loss this would be for Martino's side.
Well that should do wonders to open this game up! Uruguay can't just sit back now, forced to push forward themselves in search of an equalizer. This game has been crying out for a goal and we finally have it!

Assist P. Zabaleta

Assist Pablo Javier Zabaleta Girod

Goal S. Agüero

Goal Sergio Leonel Agüero del Castillo

ARGENTINA FINALLY HAVE THE BREAKTHROUGH! Absolutely sumptuous build-up play from La Albiceleste! Pastore does brilliantly to find a pocket of space and thread a pass through for Zabaleta on the right. The wing-back delivers a perfect cross in for Aguero who emphatically heads it past Muslera and in at the near post!

Sweeper-keeper! Romero does his best Manuel Neuer impression, sprinting off his line and out of the area to chest down and clear the danger as a ball was played over the top for Cavani to chase. That's the first time the PSG striker has had any sort of impact in the match.
You can see the frustration on the face of Lionel Messi. He's having to drop very deep into midfield to have any hope of getting on the ball, and when he does he's swarmed by defenders. He takes a pass standing 40-yards out on this latest attack, but his searching ball comes to nothing as La Celeste clear their lines.
FUN FACT: La Serena, Chile is a sister city of Madrid, Spain, where captain Diego Godin, Jose Gimenez and Cristian Rodriguez of Uruguay play their club football, as well as the locale of Lionel Messi and Barcelona’s biggest rival.
Dreadful effort. Argentina win a free kick and Di Maria stands over it. La Albiceleste pour men into the area in anticipation of the delivery, but the ex-Real Madrid man launches a ball over the head of everyone and well behind for a goal kick.
Great goalkeeping! Dashing start from Uruguay - Maxi Pereira in particular. The right-back sprints down the right, has the beating of Pastore and launches a strike across goal, but Romero is able to palm it away.
Here we go again! No changes to tell you about at the break.
Football is a game of two halves, so there's plenty of reason to be optimistic for this second half. Albeit the bar wasn't set very high in the first 45 minutes. The players are slowly making their way back out onto the pitch and we should be back underway in just a minutes.
HALF TIME: ARGENTINA 0-0 URUGUAY. There's no separating the two sides after 45 minutes. La Albiceleste have dominated possession, but they've struggled to find a way through this wall of Uruguay defenders. Oscar Tabarez's side have executed the gameplan to perfection, but they still have their work cut out for them.

Yellow card J. Mascherano

Yellow card Javier Alejandro Mascherano

Tempers starting to flare! Mascherano puts in a really hard and reckless challenge on Lodeiro at the halfway line, which prompts a few Uruguay players to come to their teammate's defence.

There will be one minute of time added on to the end of this first half.
The foul count has risen significantly as we approach the break. A seemingly endless supply of whistles have taken the pace out of the match, while Uruguay fail to take advantage of back-to-back set pieces with the opportunity to play the ball into the area.
Muslera goes to ground hard, like a slab of concrete, as he collides with Garay as he tries to punch clear a corner. The referee sees it as a 50-50 duel, however, letting play carry on as he refuses to award the Uruguay keeper the foul.
Despite enjoying significantly less possession, Oscar Tabarez has to be content with his side's performance in this first half. They have defended smartly, keeping their shape with razor-like precision. Their innate ability to press high off the ball and close down gaps in midfield has gone a long way to frustrate Argentina.
STAT ATTACK: Uruguay have allowed just one goal in their last five Copa America matches, all victories. They scored eight goals themselves over that span, though five of them came from Luis Suarez (suspended) and Diego Forlan (retired).
TOO MUCH PASSING! The build-up was brilliant from Argentina, as Messi somehow navigates his way through a mess of bodies before picking out Aguero. The forward rolls a pass across for Pastore, but the PSG midfielder opts not to go for goal! He tries to play Di Maria through on the left, but Muslera was wise to it as he gets off his line to collect easily.
TATA SENT PACKING! It's not completely clear what Martino was trying to argue - perhaps he felt Lodeiro should have been sent off? Nonetheless, the Brazilian referee is having absolutely none of it as he sends the coach to the locker room!

Yellow card N. Lodeiro

Yellow card Marcelo Nicolás Lodeiro Benítez

No arguments from Lodeiro there as he arrives late with a slide to take out Zabaleta. That was a painful one for the right-back, and it brings us our first booking of the match.

JUST WIDE! The tempo has really picked up over the last few minutes as these teams search for a breakthrough. Rolan does well to beat his marker and get on the end of a cross, but his header sails inches beyond the far post with Romero at full stretch.
PRESSURE STILL ON! Pastore this time is the architect, whipping a cross in with pace to pick out Messi who tries to power a header at goal from the top of the area. Alvaro Pereira gets a block in, however, as Uruguay hold firm for now.
MUSLERA TO THE RESCUE! Absolute magic from Messi, though! The Barcelona forward dribbles his way through a tight space just inside the area, drawing a few defenders over before chipping an exquisite ball across for Aguero at the far post, but Muslera reacts quickly to get a paw down and keep the header out!
STAT ATTACK: The two teams met in the last Copa America in 2011. Diego Perez’s opener was cancelled out by Gonzalo Higuain’s equalizer, before Carlos Tevez’s decisive miss in penalties sent Uruguay through en route to their title success.
The ensuing corner is whipped in invitingly by Lodeiro, picking out the head of Godin. The centre-back rises well to meet it, but his header down bounces just winde of the far post!
HAD TO BE IN! Much better from Uruguay! Lodeiro plays a clever ball to pick out the run of Rodriguez on the left, before the Atletico Madrid man plays a delightful cross into the centre. Rolan appears to be in perfect position to meet it, but somehow fails to get his head to the ball as the chance goes begging!
Messi wins a free kick along the right, at the edge of the area, as Alvaro Pereira flings his body in the way to block the path of the Barcelona forward. The ensuing set piece is a disappointment, however, as the delivery is headed high into the air by Cavani before Muslera manages to collect.
La Celeste are showing little intent to push forward, instead dropping very deep in defence and willing Argentina to come at them. It's not the worst plan in the world, and it's certainly working thus far, but they have to find a way to threaten on the counter and exploit this back line which has been known to concede a few goals.
Uruguay are going a nice job forcing Argentina wide, suffocating them when they try and build through the centre. Messi is being affored little space to operate, as he finds himself surrounded by a trio of defenders on the left before running the ball out of play for a Uruguay throw.
Rojo shows his offensive prowess, carving his way down the left before cutting it back for Di Maria, who ignores the shouts from his teammates in the centre, instead going for goal himself. His final effort is poor as it swerves wide of the near post, never threatening to trouble Muslera.
Possession had been dominated by Argentina through the opening 10 minutes, and there seems to be no respite for Uruguay. La Celeste are clearly trying to pack the midfield third and press high off the ball to make life difficult on their opponents and frustrate them as they try and find a way through.
Lovely link-up play there as Argentina start to find their legs. Lionel Messi prances through the middle of the pitch to the top of the area before threading a ball through to Angel di Maria on the right. The Manchester United attacker tries to test Fernando Muslera from a tight angle, but after a slight bobble the keeper is able to collect.
STAT ATTACK: Uruguay have won 15 Copa America titles, and Argentina have 14. Those numbers rank first and second in tournament history, while combined they have 29 of the 43 titles – or 67 per cent.
There it is! Argentina carve their way through midfield with their passing and the ball is played through to Sergio Aguero by Javier Pastore. The Manchester City striker can't shake the cover of Diego Godin, however, and is forced to settle for a corner.
The first few minutes have hardly lived up to the hype, but with two teams so familiar with one another that is to be expected. Neither side have managed to navigate their way into attack as the ball is contained largely in midfield with possession exchanging hands early and often.
A wry smile on the face of Lionel Messi as the referee gets set to blow the whistle. We're finally underway in La Serena!
The atmosphere inside the stadium is absolutely stirring, and why wouldn't it be! The two most successful nations in tournament history, and a pair of very old rivals get set to do battle with a whole lot more than bragging rights on the line. We'll be underway momentarily!
Oscar Tabarez, perhaps slightly more content with his side's performance in the opening match, has opted to make just one change to his team with Torino's Alvaro Gonzalez replacing the relatively inexperienced Carlos Sanchez - who plays his club football in Argentina with River Plate. Diego Rolan remains the chosen man to partner Edinson Cavani up top, and they will be hoping for a bit more service than they received in their opener against Jamaica.
Two changes for Gerardo Martino's men following their opening match draw. Manchester City right-back Pablo Zabaleta is in to replace Facundo Roncaglia, though his club teammate Martin Demichelis remains on the bench as Ezequiel Garay and Nicolas Otamendi remains the tandem of choice in defence. Moving up the pitch, Ever Banega has been dropped to the bench in favour of Lucas Biglia, who is set to tie the Sevilla man by earning his 30th cap this evening. The three-headed monster remains in-tact up top.
URUGUAY SUBS: Fucile, Sanchez, Hernandez, De Arrascaeta, Stuani, Munoz, G. Silva, G. Pereira, Corujo, Coates, J. Rodriguez, M. Silva.
ARGENTINA SUBS: Roncaglia, Gago, Pereyra, Higuain, Guzman, Casco, Demichelis, Tevez, Banega, Lamela, Lavezzi, Andujar.
URUGUAY (4-4-2): Muslera; M. Pereira, Gimenez, Godin, A. Pereira; A. Gonzalez, Arevalo, Lodeiro, C. Rodriguez; Rolan, Cavani.
ARGENTINA (4-3-3): Romero; Zabaleta, Garay, Otamendi, Rojo; Biglia, Mascherano, Pastore; Messi, Di Maria, Aguero.
Talk is cheap, however, so I'll quit my babbling to bring you the official team news:

Uruguay were anything but convincing in their opening match, despite claiming all three points. The loss of Luis Suarez seemed to reverberate throughout the team as they struggled to put together any sort of swagger, only finding the back through a scrappy set piece eventually bundled over the line by Christian Rodriguez. La Celeste are still adjusting to life without the Barcelona striker, but the confidence that would come with a victory over Argentina would be invaluable to them as they look to defend their crown.


Argentina – considered favourites by many to win the tournament – slipped up in their opening match as they blew a two-goal lead in the second half, forced to settle for a draw against Paraguay. It was a less than ideal start to their campaign, but they know all will be forgotten if they can right the ship and secure all three points against the defending champions. Anything less than a victory could force them to settle for a second place finish and a possible date with Brazil in the quarter-finals.


This is the match many have been waiting for. The defending champions against the nation many have touted to succeed them. It’s Uruguay and Argentina, the Clasico del Rio de La Plata, from the Estadio La Portada! I am Alex Moretto and I will be your scribe for the evening, guiding you through all the action in La Serena.

Agüero the hero as Argentina edge past Uruguay in battle of La Serena

La Albiceleste triumph in feisty game to join Paraguay on four points at the top of the table

A headed goal from Sergio Agüero proved enough to give Argentina a 1-0 win over Uruguay in the battle of the Group B heavyweights.

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The pre-tournament favourites got the better of the reigning champions thanks to Agüero, who was in the perfect position in the box to power home Pablo Zabaleta's right-wing cross after 56 minutes.

Having let slip a two-goal advantage against Paraguay in their opening fixture, La Albiceleste endured a nervy finish as they looked to hold on to their lead.

Diego Rolán should have levelled matters with 15 minutes to play, the Bordeaux forward blazing over the bar when he had almost the entire goal to aim at with goalkeeper Sergio Romero grounded.

Uruguay next face Paraguay in a repeat of the 2011 final, while Argentina take on a Jamaica side that have yet to register a point in this year's Copa América.

In a fractious clash that at times threatened to boil over, the only person to be dismissed was Gerado Martino.

The Argentina manager was sent off in the 33rd minute, seemingly for arguing a yellow card against Uruguay's Nicolas Lodeiro was too lenient.

After a tight opening to the game, Argentina generally had the better of the first half. Ángel Di María produced the first genuine chance but shot straight at Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Aguero forced Muslera into a stop down low with a header in the 26th minute, while Uruguay tested their opponents aerially as well.

Rolán had two good chances to score, failing to get his head on a cross in the first instance, before glancing an effort wide at the half-hour mark.

But neither side could breach the opposing defence until Agüero's effort after the break.

Some neat footwork by Javier Pastore released Zabaleta on an overlapping run and the Manchester City full-back whipped his cross to the near post to find his club colleague. Agüero launched himself in the air to provide the final touch past Muslera.

The rest of the second half descended into a collection of fouls, scuffles and yellow cards as Uruguay became increasingly frustrated.

Rolán’s miss after Romero parried a drive into the forward's path proved crucial, though he almost redeemed himself in the closing minutes with a header that was cleared off the line.

Romero was forced into a smart save to deny Abel Hernandez soon after, making sure Argentina held on for a vital win.

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