Posted by Luke Cyphers
CAPE TOWN, South Africa -- Oscar Tabarez won't apologize for being here.
The Uruguay coach found himself answering some pointed questions Monday about his team's appearance in the semifinals, on the eve of his dark-horse squad's game with the Netherlands.
The toughest query came from a British reporter. He asked whether Tabarez felt any shame in advancing to the semis via striker Luis Suarez's now-famous handball at the goal line against Ghana, perhaps the greatest red card in World Cup history.
"That was an instinctive act," Tabarez said, defending his player's honor.
Then he defended his team's and his country's. "We are very proud of our behavior," he said. "We went three matches with no yellow cards at all. Please don't tell me that we cheat. I don't accept that at all."
He also lashed out at his domestic media, first for acting like "war correspondents" and releasing video of his training session, thus giving away potential lineups.
"I have no intention of telling you my lineup," said the coach, who usually does give a preview of his roster sheet.
Then he ripped the media for spreading what he said were unfounded rumors about Martin Caceres, who has yet to play in the World Cup. But in shooting down unspecified rumors about the Juventus defender, who's struggled with injuries, Tabarez basically confirmed that Caceres would play Tuesday. That's not surprising, since starting center back Diego Lugano is injured, and his counterpart, Jorge Ciro Fucile, is suspended.
We nonetheless salute Tabarez for adding some needed spice to the usually cautious match-eve news conferences.