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Uruguay name Diego Alonso to replace iconic coach Tabarez

Diego Alonso, pictured in 2017, is a former Uruguay international striker who built a formidable coaching reputation in Mexico. ©AFP

Montevideo (AFP) - Uruguay have named Diego Alonso as their new national team coach almost a month after sacking iconic veteran Oscar Tabarez, the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) announced.

Tabarez, 74, was fired last month after a record-breaking 15 years in charge following a run of four straight defeats in which Uruguay conceded 11 goals and scored just one.

That left their hopes of reaching next year's World Cup in Qatar hanging by a thread as they sit seventh in the single South American qualifying table, with only the first four teams progressing automatically.

"Welcome Diego Alonso," said the AUF website late on Tuesday night.

Former Uruguay international Alonso's last job was as coach of David Beckham's Inter Miami, whom he left in January after an unsuccessful one-year spell.

The 46-year-old began his coaching career in his homeland in 2011 with Bella Vista before short stints at Uruguayan giants Penarol and two Paraguayan sides.

He made his name in Mexico, though, winning the CONCACAF Champions League with both Pachuca and Monterrey.

As a striker he once spent a season at Atletico Madrid in the Spanish Segunda Division.

With four qualification matches remaining, Alonso's task is to help Uruguay reach Qatar.

Brazil and Argentina have already qualified while Ecuador look certain to join them, leaving Uruguay in a clutch of five teams separated by just two points battling for the final automatic berth, or at worst the intercontinental play-off.

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