Uruguay coach dedicates qualification to the kids
Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez dedicated his World Cup qualification to the children of the South American nation after it claimed the last place at the 2010 finals in South Africa.
Some young Uruguayans would not have witnessed a World Cup campaign after their team fell at the play-off hurdle to miss out on the 2006 edition. But this time, a 1-1 home draw with Costa Rica booked Uruguay a ticket to South Africa with a 2-1 aggregate win.
"It was very tough,'' said Tabarez. "This match mirrored the tie as a whole. I'm very happy. Fortunately, we made it, in spite of the way we did it. There is a lot to improve on. We'll do so and we'll have the World Cup to prove it. I'm very happy, mostly for the kids. The ones who are younger than eight years old have never seen this and now they can live it.''
Captain Diego Lugano was disappointed Uruguay had to go through the play-offs. It's the third time in a row they have found themselves in the inter-continental play-off after meeting Australia the past two times.
"I am happy to qualify, but not for the way we've clinched it,'' the Fenerbahce defender said. "It is unbelievable that we have to suffer this way.''
Midfielder Alvaro Fernandez added: "We'll never make it into the World Cup comfortably, but it has a special taste.''
Costa Rica coach Rene Simoes questioned the motives of a Uruguayan camera crew whose touch-line fracas with his bench turned the game's momentum.
Simoes thought the momentum in the match had swung to his team after captain Walter Centeno had cancelled out Uruguay substitute Sebastian Abreu's goal.
But fighting between a Uruguayan camera crew and the Costa Rican bench players halted the match for almost five minutes.
The Brazilian coach lamented the fight, and suggested a similar tactic in their final CONCACAF qualifer against the United States when they were minutes from victory could have worked in their favour. The U.S. grabbed a last-gasp equaliser that handed Honduras the final automatic CONCACAF berth and sent Simoes's team into the playoff against Uruguay.
"I don't know how the press gets access to fight," Simoes said. "We didn't have the malice that the Uruguayans had. After we equalised (on Wednesday), the match was halted when we were playing at our best. In Costa Rica that malice doesn't exist. If it did, we would have done that against the United States," he added.
Simoes, who coached Jamaica in the 1998 World Cup, announced he will likely step aside from the position even if federation president Eduardo Li offers him a new deal.
He said: "I spoke to the federation president before the match. He did not officially offer the job but left the doors open. However, four years is too much for me. I don't want four years anymore. I would like one and then to decide whether or not to go on. Coaching life is very difficult and I miss my family a lot.''