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Uruguay vs South Korea - Tabarez ready to emulate childhood heroes
26/06/2010  by PA
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Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez will send his side into World Cup battle with South Korea dreaming of emulating the heroes of his childhood.

Tabarez was just three years old when Uruguay won the World Cup in 1950, the second and most recent occasion they lifted the trophy, and he remembers the reverence with which the men who achieved that feat were treated - and indeed, still are - in his native country.

Sixty years on from that triumph in Brazil, the South Americans will attempt to book a place in the quarter-finals of the same tournament in South Africa, although their manager knows they have a rich history to live up to.

Tabarez said: "It's very difficult to draw parallels between generations of footballers bearing in mind that today's world is very different to the world of the 1950s.

"For Uruguayans and for myself, to talk about that team is to talk about people who are right up there in heaven. We hold them in extraordinary esteem.

"I don't know what would happen if we were to achieve what that team did in 1950.

"I was three years old when they won the World Cup in 1950 and throughout my childhood, I heard talk about those champions.

"We still think that is out of our reach, but we have our hopes and our dreams.

"We are going to continue to try doing our best and let history be."

Tabarez has confirmed he will make only one change to the team which started against Mexico with Mauricio Victorino replacing Diego Godin at the back.

Korea counterpart Huh Jung-moo, with tongue firmly in cheek, suggested his side, which conceded six goals in its three group games, would simply have to score twice for every one it conceded against Uruguay.

Tabarez's response was uncompromising.

He said: "I am not saying it is not possible, what I will say is we are going to try to show the Korean coach that he is wrong, but not by words, by actions."

South Korea skipper Park Ji-sung is challenging his team-mates to write themselves into the history books by reaching the semi-finals.

The Koreans, who did just that in their own country eight years ago, have reached the last 16 on foreign soil for the first time in South Africa, and face a tough task if they are to progress any further.

However, Manchester United midfielder Park is convinced they can get past the South Americans and make a real fist of emulating the feat their compatriots achieved back in 2002.

"We ourselves don't have a clear conviction of how far we can go," he said.

"But in 2002, we made it to the semi-finals and I don't think that was just because it was on home ground.

"We will do our best to prove that was not the case."

Park, 29, made his name on the international stage eight years ago as the co-hosts, riding a wave of patriotic fervour, very nearly went all the way under Dutch coach Guus Hiddink before losing 1-0 to Germany in the semi-finals.

They failed to make it past the group stage at the 2006 finals in Germany, but they have gone one better this time around and are determined to embark upon another big adventure.

Some commentators believe the current team may be even stronger than the one which took such spectacular advantage of the comforts of home, although Park, who revealed he has received good luck messages from club boss Sir Alex Ferguson and his United team-mates, insists that can only be assessed once their tournament comes to an end.

He said: "I can't compare this team to the 2002 team. That was the best team in our history.

"But this 2010 team is improving and we have got through the first round of games.

"Shortly, at the end of the World Cup, we are going to compare the previous team with this one and hopefully then we can say we are better."

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