JOHANNESBURG - Being South America's only
survivors in the World Cup has given extra impetus to Uruguay's
bid to re-live the glory of their nation's past heroes who
lifted two trophies in 1930 and 1950, players said on Sunday.
After all the talk of Europe's demise and South America's
dominance in the early stage of the World Cup, Uruguay are
surprisingly now the region's only representative in the
semi-finals. The other three teams are European.
"Above all, we will play for our country, our people. But
after that we know we are representing our continent as well. It
is a huge source of pride," said striker Edinson Cavani.
Underlining Uruguay's extraordinary moment in the spotlight
- it is their first time in a semi-final since 1970 - several
hundred journalists crammed into a Johannesburg hotel conference
room to interview the players after a training session.
Uruguay face Netherlands for a place in the final.
"We are prepared for an almighty battle and, if God wants,
another step towards our great dream," captain and defender
Diego Lugano, who is a doubt for the semi-final due to a knee
injury, said in the midst of a multi-lingual crush.
"Uruguay's history demands us to be world champions."
With a population of just 3.5 million, Uruguay have gone
further at this World Cup than regional heavyweights Brazil and
Argentina, both beaten by European teams in the quarter-finals.
"Even though they are out, they don't stop being big powers,
good teams. But I think Uruguay has deserved to be where it is,"
Cavani said, adding that his team respected the Dutch hugely.
"They are a team who play well, who move the ball well.
Tactically, they are near-perfect."
Long-haired and lanky striker Sebastian Abreu,
affectionately nicknamed "El Loco" (The Crazy One) by fans, also
praised Netherlands but said Uruguay "humbly" fancied their
chances. "History drives us on," he said.
While most Latin Americans will no doubt be cheering on
Uruguay, some of the players were surprised to see Mexican fans
backing Ghana against them in the quarter-final.
"As we were representing Latin America, we would expect them
to support us, but the other day there were plenty of Mexicans
supporting Ghana," Abreu said. "You don't understand such
things, but anyway, thanks to those who were happy for us."
Follow FFT.com on Twitter
Join FFT.com on Facebook
Stoke City and manager Tony Pulis part company by mutual agreement after seven years
Andy Carroll pulls out of England's friendly internationals against Ireland and Brazil
Manchester City and the New York Yankees have formed a new Major League Soccer team
Real Madrid president under scrutiny after latest coaching project ends in disarray
Ten years on, the legends speak to FFT
Your questions answered by an A to Z of legends
He's here, he's there, he's...
The cost of Premier League away travel
Nike CR7 IX for you
FourFourTwo is brought to you by Haymarket Consumer Media & FourFourTwo is part of Haymarket Sport
| International Licensing | © Haymarket Media Group 2010