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Saturday, July 10, 2010
Tabarez: We will end octopus streak

Soccernet staff

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said he is determined to prove Paul the octopus wrong by beating Germany in the third-place play-off on Saturday.

• Uruguay v Germany preview
• Suarez focused on third

Paul has gained worldwide fame by successfully predicting all of Germany's six results at this World Cup by choosing between food containers which are identical apart from the opposing national team flags adorning them. If each guess was considered 50-50, the likelihood of getting six results correct is one in 64.

Now Paul has opted for Germany to beat Uruguay in the third-place play-off but Tabarez said it's time to end the psychic cephalopod's streak.

"It's not just a matter of beating Germany but also beating the octopus," Tabarez said. "(Beating Germany) would be absolutely spectacular, and I think it is possible. [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."

Whether overcoming an impressive German outfit or proving Paul wrong is the bigger challenge, no one is sure, but Tabarez insisted that his team could hold their heads up high regardless of the outcome after a surprise run to the semi-finals.

"We have overall delivered great performances. I think overall it has been a great World Cup [for Uruguay]."

Tabarez confirmed his lethal strike pairing of Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, who is back after a one-game suspension, will start the match. Forlan, with four goals, is one goal behind golden boot contenders David Villa and Wesley Sneijder, who will play in Sunday's final. But with third-place matches traditionally high-scoring affairs, compared to often cagey finals, Forlan still has a chance to claim the top-scorer's prize.

He's also in the running for the Golden Ball - awarded to the best player of the tournament - but Tabarez insisted he would put the team ahead of personal accolades.

"It's a matter of standing up for our country and he has done so," Tabarez said. "It would be great for Uruguayan football if he was taken into account as one of the top players ... but he is not going for that. It is a collective sport."

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