Uruguay boss wants party to go on

Oscar Tabarez is determined to keep the people of Uruguay partying by extending their country's stay at the World Cup finals.

Oscar Tabarez is determined to keep the people of Uruguay partying by extending their country's stay at the World Cup finals.

The South Americans eased into the knockout phase of the competition without conceding a goal and face South Korea in the last 16 at the Nelson Bay Stadium this evening with spirits soaring back at home.

Coach Tabarez said: "I have had a lot of news from back home. I have had a lot of information via the internet, of course, and when myself or any of my players speak to our families and friends back home, we always ask them what the feeling and the atmosphere are.

"Apparently, our matches are being watched in schools and in shopping malls, and children and young people are following us back home.

"There seems to be a link between this team and the people of Uruguay. They feel represented by these players.

"Regardless of what may happen in the future, this team has shown it can stand up and fight against very difficult teams and that it is giving it's very best.

"We don't want to build castles in the sky, but we are certainly not going to give up on anything and my players have shown that in each of the matches they have played so far.

"Whether that will be enough to progress in the tournament, we will have to see as we play our matches.

"But Uruguayans have decided that they have reason to party, and we hope that will be the case today."

Tabarez will make just one change to the side which beat Mexico 1-0 in Uruguay's final group game with Mauricio Victorino replacing Diego Godin at the back, but he is expecting more of the same from his players.

He said: "We have a very young team who are highly motivated. They are so optimistic and now that they are here, they believe they can win matches, and that's what they have done.

"But we don't want to lose our heads or put too much pressure on ourselves.

"We are guarding against that pressure. Every time I speak to my players, I tell them the match begins at 4pm and we have to be on tip-top form for that.

"Korea have prepared very well for this tournament - you can see that clearly when you see them on the pitch.

"They are very good at attacking, although sometimes they leave themselves short in defence.

"There's a saying among coaches that football is like a short blanket: it covers your head or it covers your feet, and if it covers your head, your toes are in the air.

"But they have a great squad and it is going to be a tough game."

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