PORT ELIZABETH - Uruguay called on the
spirit of 'garra charrua' and the thundering foot of Luis Suarez
to give them a 2-1 win over South Korea on Saturday and a place
in the World Cup quarter-finals for the first time in 40 years.
Taking their nickname 'Los Charruas' from a mysterious and
long lost indigenous people, Uruguay's national team has forged
their identity around 'garra charrua' (Charruan claws) a term
used to refer to victory in the face of certain defeat.
That force was with "Los Charruas" on a water-logged Nelson
Mandela Bay stadium pitch on Saturday as Uruguay held off a
second half assault by Korea that was as relentless as the
driving rain before Suarez got a brilliant 80th-minute winner.
"People say Uruguay has this 'garra charrua'," striker
Edinson Cavani told Reuters.
"Today, Uruguay had that desire, that determination. We kept
pace with a team like South Korea which was very difficult but
it was that desire that pushed us forward."
While a place in the last eight was described as a dream
come true by the players, coach Oscar Tabarez reminded his team
their achievement was real and even more was possible.
However, he conceded that after 40 years of frustration,
many of his fellow countrymen were dreaming of more victories
and it was up to his players to meet those expectations.
"We're not building castles in the air. I don't see why we
should be resigned to anything," said Tabarez. "Before we began
this World Cup I told the players, 'Hey the people back home
have great expectations, they have dreams and we have to
"There are only three million people in Uruguay. There are
very few of us and it's a long time that we have been looking
forward to something like this and now it is happening.
"The main reason for this is to give our people joy so I
hope the celebrations will continue."
With fruitful attacking options in Suarez and Diego Forlan
and a defence that has conceded just one goal in four matches,
Uruguay will fancy their chances of advancing further.
But for all his team's strengths, Tabarez said his squad's
biggest was the bond that had developed among the players.
"We have great harmony," he added. "This team sticks
together. They are very, very united.
"The last 15 minutes of this match we saw that harmony, that
solidarity among the players, that unity. This is a very good
weapon and allows us to take on any team."
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