Uruguay coach chooses three-man strike team to counter Bafana defence

2010-06-16 00:00

AS expected, Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez is set to play three strikers when his side meet Bafana Bafana in their World Cup Group A encounter at Loftus tonight.

Uruguay started with a defensively strong but unenterprising 0-0 draw against France in their first match at Cape Town Stadium on Friday.

Argentine Tabarez confirmed yesterday he will add Palermo striker Edison Cavan to the already lethal attacking pair of Ajax Amsterdam’s Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan of Atletico Madrid to spice up his atack.

This will be the second time Bafana have faced an intimidating three-man attack, having largely held off the excellent Carlos Vela, Giovani dos Santos and Guilermo Franco in their 1-1 opening draw against Mexico.

“The reason really is to try to have an even distribution of players according to the profile of our opponents,” Tabarez explained of his change.

“We saw South Africa played Mexico with two lines of four and two up front. We’ve had three defenders and we thought it might make an even distribution to have more players in attack.

“These three players have also been in decisive form for their clubs, which was another factor.”

Uruguay have not won a World Cup game since the 1990 tournament in Italy, when Tabarez was also last coach of the South Americans. The Argentine said this has added to the team’s motivation, rather than to the pressure they are under.

“And we will be playing a team that is also very enthusiastic. In their first match they kept up the pressure and with their counter-attack scored a goal, and could have scored more.

“And it was not only because they were playing at home that they played well, but also because they are a team with a lot of potential — we know this because we have studied them for months.”

The Uruguayans are unlikely to be complacent given the respect Tabarez expresses for South Africa.

“The side group very well and they can defend very well,” he said. “They keep fighting and have a good attitude and some very, very fast players — the number nine [Katlego Mphela] is unusually fast.

“Their goalkeeper [Itumeleng Khune] kicked the ball from his own box to set up their goal. If that was an Argentinean or a Brazilian, we would have said ‘what a great player’.

“They might not have the football history of some of the sides at this World Cup, but they have a football culture and excitement for the game.”

Uruguay captain Diego Lugano said his side have their work cut out for them against the hosts.

“Playing the World Cup host team is always very special, especially with this atmosphere here,” the defender said.

“It shows we really have to work hard if we are get through in this World Cup.

“The group is still open and we will have a better idea after tomorrow’s match who might progress.”

Arctic temperatures have hit the interior and both teams will brace for a freezing evening at Loftus.

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