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Uruguay confirms Marcelo Bielsa as new coach to 2026 World Cup

FILE - Leeds United's head coach Marcelo Bielsa during the English Premier League soccer match between Leeds United and Liverpool at Elland Road in Leeds, England, Sunday, Sept.12, 2021. Bielsa has been appointed on Thursday, May 11, 2023, as the new head coach of the Uruguay national soccer team. (AP Photo/Rui Vieira, File)

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay (AP) — Marcelo Bielsa was confirmed as the new Uruguay coach on Monday to the end of the 2026 World Cup.

The Uruguayan Football Association celebrated the arrival of 67-year-old Bielsa with a video and a series of memes mimicking the Argentine's renown as a great tactitian.

“Our public demands gameplay and emotions. The time has arrived,” the association said on Twitter.

Bielsa’s first matches are likely in June, when Uruguay is scheduled to play friendlies against Nicaragua and Cuba. South American World Cup qualifying will begin in September.

Bielsa coached Argentina from 1998-2004. His team was eliminated at the group stage of the 2002 World Cup and won the gold medal at the 2004 Athens Olympics. He left the job for personal reasons.

Bielsa also coached Chile from 2007-11.

He's also had spells at Españyol, Athletic Bilbao, Marseille and Lille. He has been out of a job since February 2022 when he was fired by Leeds.

Uruguay went out of the group stage at the World Cup in Qatar last year.

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