Tabarez master class makes Uruguay proud

PRETORIA - "The Master" has achieved one of his World Cup goals - to make Uruguayans proud of their team the way older generations were of the 1930 and 1950 champions.

Uruguay played a solid game in defence with good movement between their three forwards to beat hosts South Africa 3-0 in Pretoria on Wednesday and move within a draw of qualifying from Group A.

"We are duty bound to follow on from this achievement, particularly with young people who have never seen anything like what happened today," said coach Oscar Washington Tabarez, known as the Master from his schoolteacher days.

Uruguay had not won a World Cup match since 1990 in Italy in Tabarez's previous spell in charge, and the 3-0 win was their biggest margin of victory for 56 years. They crushed Scotland 7-0 when they were defending champions in Switzerland in 1954.

"This was an historic result ... We came here with the hope of doing something different to Uruguay's reality since 1970," the 63-year-old said.

"This doesn't mean we're done but the process of focusing their (the players) minds and convincing them is ongoing," Tabarez said at the post-match news conference.

"There are lots of better teams (than Uruguay) but we're sure we'll trouble them. We don't have much margin (for error), we have to play very well.

"There are always things to correct but I think we have a team that's good at defending and just needs a little calm to manage the ball in some circumstances."

Uruguay were semi-finalists at the 1970 World Cup finals in Mexico and reaching the second round in 1990 was their best finish since.

Wednesday's performance, solid in defence and creative up front with two-goal Diego Forlan shining in a withdrawn role behind two strikers, was what Tabarez has been working towards since 2006.

Tabarez had Forlan playing alongside Luis Suarez up front in a 4-4-2 formation against France in their opening match last Friday and they created few chances in a 0-0 draw.

Uruguay have been more organised in this World Cup cycle than in the previous half century at least, with the same man at the helm for the full four years.

The Uruguayans face Mexico in their final group match next Tuesday when a draw will see them though to the second round.

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