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March 12, 2010

Tabarez: We have a duty to history

By Soccernet staff

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez has called on his players to take inspiration from the country's great history in the World Cup as they look to succeed in South Africa.

Oscar Tabarez
GettyImagesOscar Tabarez will lead Uruguay again.

Tabarez stopped short of naming his targets for the World Cup, claiming only that his side would be looking to progress from a group containing hosts South Africa, France and Mexico.

"We have a duty to our country's great footballing history," he told FIFA.com. "Some people call it prehistory but they're only saying that because they don't have any history of their own to talk about. We need to have some kind of link with those great champions, at least in terms of our footballing culture and what it means to us."

"We also have a responsibility to the youngsters, the little ones who have never seen the national side win an international trophy. Earning qualification against Costa Rica gave us cause for celebration but now we're looking to achieve something more important."

Uruguay warmed up with a 3-1 win over Switzerland in St. Gallen on March 3 and Tabarez is focused on fine-tuning his side over the coming month.

"In the friendly with Switzerland we finally got on with what we like doing best, and that's playing football,'' he said. ''Our main focus now is on the last two weeks of May, which is when we'll be doing our fine-tuning. Our goal is to fight all the way in South Africa without trying to picture what the future might bring. We have our expectations, but we are fully aware of the realities around us."

Having taken 'La Celeste' to Italy 1990, the coach is aware of the reality of his situation.

"Twenty years have gone by since that World Cup, and as well as being older I'm also more mature and more experienced,'' he said. ''I know very well, for example, that the only thing you can do in the first round is qualify for the next. That's the only objective there is - to get through and be there for the start of the real World Cup in the last 16."

The South African climate in June is sure to be an advantage for the Uruguayan players, as Tabarez acknowledges. "We'll try and make the most of the cold weather by staying put in Montevideo and doing all our preparations there, where the temperatures will be exactly the same. This is only the fifth World Cup to take place during winter months and that should ensure we see better football."