Uruguay aim to match 2010 semi-final spot at least

Uruguay aim to match 2010 semi-final spot at least
Uruguay's coach Oscar Tabarez.

MONTEVIDEO - Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez believes his team have two key advantages in Brazil: their Confederations Cup experience there last year and the near-perfect footballing age of key players.

Luis Suarez, Uruguay's record scorer with 39 goals who may take some time to regain match fitness after knee cartilage surgery, and strike partner Edinson Cavani are both 27.

He would not go as far as saying that Uruguay can repeat their 1950 World Cup success in Brazil, but he would not rule out reaching the latter stages, as they did in South Africa four years ago.

"What happened in 1950 was a long time ago, a different era," Tabarez told Reuters in a recent interview, "but it won't be easy to beat us. Brazil found it hard to beat us last year. We could cause some surprises and go a long way."

Last year's Confederations Cup gave the reigning South American champions experience of the conditions teams can expect at the tournament, including climate at venues separated in some cases by thousands of kilometres, which Tabarez said had been good.

Uruguay's World Cup exploits in Brazil 64 years ago hold great memories for Uruguay but bad memories for Brazilian fans old enough to remember the pain of losing the decider at the 1950 finals - the only other time Brazil has hosted the soccer extravaganza.

Their 2-1 victory over Brazil on July 16, 1950, known as the "Maracanazo", gave Uruguay their second title and might even give Tabarez's team an added boost in a tight group that includes former champions Italy and England as well as Central American outsiders Costa Rica.

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