Uruguay surprised everyone on Saturday evening by defeating Argentina, with penalty kicks, in de Copa América. Ajax player Nicolás Lodeiro is very happy with their spot in the semi-finals. “Although I’m disappointed not to have played in the quarterfinals, I’m thrilled to be in the semi-finals”, said Lodeiro, who has been keeping in touch with Ajax through player leader Herman Pinkster.
It’s been a cherry on the cake for the Ajax player, during a tough season. The midfielder was injured for two long spells, due to a broken bone in his foot. While preparing for the Copa América, his father passed away. He dedicated his goal during the practice match against Estland to his deceased father, and many Uruguayan team mates, including Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan, were present at his father’s funeral. “I want to thank my Ajax team mates and staff for their sympathy via sms and phone calls. Despite the physical distance, they’ve given me a lot of support”, the 22 year old Lodeiro says appreciatively.
Lodeiro played during every pool match of the Copa América. Moreover, he is the one who assisted Luis Suarez’s goal, giving Uruguay a tie with Peru, also a surprise among the last four teams. “I feel that I’m a full-fledged member of the team. Tabarez involves me in everything and I’m truly a part of the team. I believe that I’ll play some more. We got quite far in the World Cup in South Africa (Uruguay was defeated by the Netherlands in the semi-finals), and we want to match that here. But it wasn’t expected that we would meet Argentina so early in the tournament. It’s a real boost that Uruguay, such a small country, has beaten the great Argentina. You never know where it will end.” Uruguay plays the semi-final match on Tuesday. The opponent will once again be Peru, which Uruguay tied 1-1 in the opening match.
After the tournament, which hopefully for Lodeiro will last until Sunday, the player will need a few weeks to rest before reporting back to Amsterdam. But he makes a solemn promise to the supporters. “When I return to the team after this tournament and my holidays, I want to show everyone what I can do. I owe it to the fans!”