World Cup 2018: Coach Oscar Tabarez hails Uruguay’s mental strength

first_imgUruguay coach Oscar Tabarez lauded his side’s dedication and commitment on Saturday after a hard-fought 2-1 win over Portugal took them into the quarter-finals of the World Cup 2018.Edinson Cavani put Uruguay ahead in the seventh minute when he evaded the Portugal defence to meet Luis Suarez’s pinpoint cross with a bullet header at the far post.But Pepe headed Portugal level in the 55th minute, the first goal Uruguay have conceded in the tournament, but the two-time champions regained the lead seven minutes later when Rodrigo Bentancur found Cavani and he curled a brilliant first-time shot past Rui Patricio from the edge of the penalty area. Uruguay have now won all four of their matches so far in Russia.World Cup 2018: Edinson Cavani brace sends Ronaldo’s Portugal crashing out”The distinctive feature of the game was the dedication the players showed on the pitch, and that is the way that we see football,” Tabarez said. “It was difficult. Portugal had more possession and were often in our half of the pitch, and it would have been better for us to have more of the ball and play the game closer to their goal.2018 FIFA WORLD CUP: FULL COVERAGE”Today we committed a mistake that led to the equaliser but we have a very strong team in terms of mindset,” Tabarez added, citing the value of his team’s “intensity, focus and tactical intuition”.Portugal dominated possession but their attack did not have enough bite to break through the Uruguay defence twice, leaving their captain Cristiano Ronaldo a frustrated figure throughout the match.advertisementNot a fair result. Portugal coach can’t come to terms with World Cup exitPortugal had 61 percent of the possession and four times as many shots at goal as the Uruguyans but Tabarez dismissed possession as a mere statistic and said what mattered was creating and converting chances.World Cup 2018: Messi, Ronaldo dreams dashed as Argentina, Portugal bow out”I think there is often a mistaken assumption that possession leads to goal-scoring opportunities,” said the former coach of Cagliari and AC Milan.World Cup 2018: Cristiano Ronaldo’s class act in defeat wins hearts”I learnt that in Italy when I worked there. In Italy ball possession isn’t sanctified as it is elsewhere. Even if you don’t have a lot of possession you can inflict pain on your opponent.”Tabarez saluted man-of-the-match Cavani but said he was not sure whether the Paris St Germain striker, who limped off in the 74th minute, would be ready for next Friday’s quarter-final against France.”Cavani sustained an injury tonight and we will have to see how that evolves as it’s not clear at this stage how serious it is,” he said. “But as always, we will bank on the strength of our team as a collective. That is our best chance against any adversary, and we know that France will be very tough indeed.”Cavani will surely be the toast of the nation. Earlier in the evening, France had knocked out a major South American country, Argentina. Later in the night, a South American country rallied hard to dash the hopes of the 2016 European champions.Understandably, the 31-year-old PSG striker was ecstatic.”I am happy for what happened today, I hope we can go further,” Cavani said. “It’s exciting…there are no words to describe this. Really, really, really happy – look at our fans! I want to continue dreaming,” he said at the end of the match.Uruguay, world champions in 1930 and 1950, will play France, who beat Argentina 4-3 earlier in the day, in the quarter-finals in Nizhny Novgorod on July 6.(With Reuters inputs)last_img

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