Uruguay looking to end their memorable World Cup in style

Kieran Beckles
By Kieran Beckles
forlan

diego forlan

Uruguay manager Oscar Tabárez is determined to end their superb World Cup campaign on a positive note with a victory over Germany in the third-place play-off tonight.

Tabárez’s side have been one of the surprise packages of the tournament with few predicting a semi-final appearance, not even ‘Paul’ the Octopus.

The influence of the resplendent Diego Forlan combined Luis Suárez’s clinical finishing helped propel Uruguay into the latter stages.

The South American side now face Germany in tonight’s third place play-off and Tabárez has vowed his team will ‘fight to the death’ in their quest to secure third place.

“(Beating Germany) would be absolutely spectacular, and I think it is possible,” said Tabárez.

“It would send a message to everyone by saying nothing is impossible in football.”

“Since 1934, Germany has been participating all the time in the World Cup and Germany has written a great history in the book of the World Cups.

“Before the match against Spain this [German side] had been the best team of the tournament, so this is very motivating for us.

“We recognise this match will be difficult but we don’t think it will be impossible,” he added.

Uruguay have won football’s most coveted prize on two previous occasions, in 1930 and 1950. Their last semi-final appearance came in 1970 when the mite of Jairzinho and Rivelino helped Brazil to a 3-1 success.

In subsequent appearances amongst the world elite they have struggled to make an impact as a number of second round appearances were coupled with early exits in the group stages.

And the South American side hardly stood out in their qualification campaign for this year’s tournament. A tame CONMEBOL run saw Uruguay finish sixth below Brazil, Paraguay, Chile and Argentina, while managing just six victories in 18 games.

But in the CONMEBOL/CONCAF play-off, Tabárez masterminded a narrow 2-1 aggregate victory over Costa Rica to ensure qualification for South Africa.

Given their uncomfortable qualification campaign, it is quite a feat to have progressed to the last four.

Indeed they were the only South American side to do so as favourites Brazil and Argentina both fell at the quarter-final stage.

A victory tonight would inject some much-needed pride into the continent and herald Uruguay’s return to the pinnacle of world football.

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