Edinson Cavani’s late career plan seemed to be carefully mapped out.
He would complete this year at United, then return to South America possibly with Boca Juniors, before taking part in his final World Cup at Qatar 2022.
Now there is a bump in the road, with Uruguay now at serious risk of failing to qualify for the tournament.
Uruguay have suffered back to back defeats during this international break.
They were in a precarious position after their 1-0 defeat to Argentina last week.
Last night they suffered a shock 3-0 loss to Bolivia to leave them even worse off.
Uruguay have now lost four consecutive qualifying games and have won four games out of 14.
Cavani was not in action for Uruguay last night as he missed the qualifiers due to injury.
He also missed the September qualifiers as United kept him back. Cavani did play the October internationals, failing to score in all three games he played.
How many teams qualify from South America?
The top four ranked teams in the Conmebol section qualify automatically for Qatar 2022. Brazil have already locked up their place.
The fifth ranked team takes part in a play-off match against a team from the Asia/Pacific region.
Currently Cavani’s Uruguay sit in seventh place after their latest defeat, and crucially they have played a game more than some of their rivals.
The qualifying section is tight behind Brazil. Argentina are on course to make it, with Ecuador behind them.
Then Peru, Chile, and Colombia are battling it out with Uruguay for fourth and fifth spots, as it stands.
A win over Bolivia would have taken Uruguay temporarily up into fourth, so this latest defeat was a costly one.
Uruguay have a rich World Cup history, winning the tournament in 1930 and 1950.
While they failed to qualify in 2006, they have since made the 2010, 2014 and 2018 World Cups, with Cavani featuring at all three.
The good news for Cavani is that Uruguay’s four remaining fixtures rank on the easier side, with no games left against Brazil or Argentina.
Uruguay face Paraguay and Venezuela, who are the bottom two ranked teams in the qualifying section, along with Peru and Chile. These games will take place early next year.
Cavani will join Manchester United teammate Cristiano Ronaldo in being very anxious about the next crucial international games, and whether his side can make it to Qatar.
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