Do you know Félix Sánchez? He’s a former Barcelona youth coach who just masterminded the most impressive performance of the 2019 Copa América. His Qatar side came back from 2-0 down to earn a giant point against Paraguay, but it’s not just the result. The truly impressive part is the performance: Qatar were awesome on Sunday, playing a beautiful style of short passing and constant movement.
They built from the back, their “long balls” were just 20-yard passes along the ground in between the lines, and they kept going forward looking to score. Going down 2-0 didn’t scare or change their mindset one bit, and Qatar played a brand of football that would make every Juego de Posición purist smile from ear to ear while also scoring goals and achieving the result, which makes fans of any style happy.
It’s impossible not to watch Qatar’s performance as a Barça fan and wonder why a team that’s infinitely less talented can play like Barça better than Barça can. The answer to that question is actually pretty simple: Qatar have Félix Sánchez, Barça have Ernesto Valverde.
Ernesto Valverde is currently the coach of Luis Suárez, who looked bad at the end of his club season, had a knee surgery and recovered in time to not only start in the first match but look really great in it. Uruguay proved their status as favorites, and everything good about them was seen in Luis Suárez’s performance: the intensity, the high pressing, the constant running, the delivery in set pieces, the clinical finishing.
Luis Suárez was amazing on Sunday, which is at the same time nice to watch but also really frustrating. There have been reports of his knee injury for 18 months, and he always chose treatment instead of surgery. If this is the healthy Suárez after cleaning up his knee, then we might actually get the real Pistolero next season.
Day 3 Results
Paraguay 2-2 Qatar
Goals: Cardozo (4’), González (56’), Almoez Ali (68’), Boualem Khoukhi (77’)
Uruguay 4-0 Ecuador
Goals: Lodeiro (6’), Cavani (33’), Suárez (44’), Mina (OG 78’)
Goal of the Day
This Edinson Cavani finish needs no description (US only):