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Uruguay coach Tavarez supports Luis
Suarez ahead of 100 game milestone   

By Paul Giblin ROSTOV-ON-DON Russia (Xinhua) -- Uruguay coach Oscar Washington Tavarez isn’t worried about the form of Luis Suarez as the striker prepares to reach a personal milestone when his side face Saudi Arabia in Rostov-On-Don on Wednesday night.

The FC Barcelona forward will make his 100th appearance for his country on Wednesday and Tavarez insisted he still had faith in him despite a poor performance in the 1-0 win over Egypt on Saturday.

“Reaching 100 games for your country is a very important number of games for an international player,” said Tavarez; “and in most of those games, Suarez has been vital for us, scoring important goals and giving assists.

“We all know he wasn’t great against Egypt, but he hasn’t lost his potential at all,” he insisted, adding that one of the things that makes football special is that it is unpredictable.

“Football is a question about people; footballers are not machines you can program and you need to have understanding and support for the players to give them what they need to play in the next game.”

A win against a Saudi side who lost their opening game 5-0 to Russia, would almost certainly book Uruguay’s place in the last 16 of the competition (certain if Egypt fail to beat Russia), but Tavarez warned that after a first round of matches where Uruguay was the only South American side to win their game, nothing can be taken for granted.

“The debut was tough for everyone; not just Uruguay and we have seen a lot of equality in the games,” he explained.

“Maybe the Russia-Saudi game was the one with the biggest difference, but I am not expecting a rival what will roll out the carpet for us, but against a side who want to turn their defeat around.”

“The Saudis are fast and talented and almost drew against Germany in a preparation game, we will try and nullify their strong points and exploit their weaknesses, but it will be a tough game, like all the games we have seen so far in the World Cup.”

“You have to be prepared for anything that can happen, we have seen anything can happen in the first round of games and everyone here has something to show,” said Tavarez. 



Uruguay keeper Muslera proud to make World Cup history

ROSTOV-ON-DON Russia (Xinhua) -- Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera will make his 99th appearance for his country when they face Saudi Arabia in the World Cup on Wednesday, but speaking to the press on the eve of that game, he had another number on his mind...and it wasn’t ‘100’.

When he starts against the Saudis in Rostov-on-Don, Muslera will equal the Uruguayan record of 13 games played in World Cup finals of legendary former Uruguay goalkeeper Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, who played for his country in the 1966, 1970 and 1974 tournaments.

“I am happy and proud, it is a huge reason to be proud, that my name is among the record books of Uruguayan football and it will be a big moment for my family,” said Muslera speaking to the press o Tuesday.

Although Saudi Arabia lost their opening gam 5-0 to Russia, Muslera warned that would make Wednesday’s rivals more dangerous.

“The Saudis are going to give everything; they are a good side despite their defeat in the first game and the result was harsh on them. They are going to give everything and we can’t keep anything back against them, because If we win it will almost certainly see us into the next round,” said the goalkeeper, who also had words of thanks for Uruguay’s central defensive pairing of Jose Gimenez and Diego Godin, who play their club football with Atletico Madrid.

“They’re players with great talent and it helps having them in front of me, because they have a lot of experience and it helps keep you calm that they are there,” he said.


Pizzi looking for improvements as Saudi Arabia prepare for vital Uruguay game

ROSTOV-ON-DON Russia (Xinhua) -- Saudi Arabia coach Juan Antonio Pizzi promised his players would do everything possible to put the 5-0 defeat his side suffered against Russia in their opening World Cup game behind them when they face Uruguay on Wednesday.

Defeat to Uruguay would sent the Saudis home from the World Cup, but speaking in his pre-game press conference, Pizzi stressed the importance of his side giving a different image on the pitch.

“I have confidence that my players are going to play a great game and will try and beat Uruguay.

“We have other priorities as well: we need to recover our capacity to compete ... it is the only way to play football and that is the first thing we will focus on tomorrow,” he said.

“We have an opportunity to forget a performance and result which weren’t what we were aiming for,” continued the coach.

Pizzi was unwilling to comment on criticism of the Saudi team from the Director of the Saudi General Sports Authority, Turki al-Sheikh, who accused the players of “giving just 5 percent.”

“I am not going to discuss what others have said, but we have looked at ourselves and we have the capacity to improve,” he explained.

He was asked if the agreement which saw three key Saudi players, Salem Al-Darsawi, Yahya Al Shehri and Fahed Al-Muwallad spend five months in Spain, where they played less than 100 minutes between them had seen them lose match fitness. Pizzi insisted the accord had been “positive” as they had learned “tactically and other issues” from the experience.

“We think it is a good route for the Saudi league have taken to promote the experience for Saudi players and I hope they continue doing so, because I think it will be reflected in the performance of the players and the national team,” he commented.

Finally Pizzi said the fire in the engine of the plane which took his side to Rostov-On-Don would not have a negative effect.

“The images speak for themselves, but I don’t think they will affect our performance on Wednesday,” he concluded.

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