Uruguay boss Oscar Tabarez has warned their rivals that it is too early to rule them out of glory at Russia and pointed out their triumphant Copa America campaign in 2011 as proof that they should not be underestimated
Despite wins against both Egypt and Saudi Arabia in their two opening games of the tournament, La Celeste have not been playing their best football after securing narrow 1-0 wins in both encounters.
Today Uruguay will go up against hosts Russia with the victor set to take the top spot of Group A and, therefore, a more favourable opponent in the next round of the World Cup.
Due to Russia’s superior goal difference, a draw will not be enough for Uruguay to snatch first place in the group.
But Tabarez remains unconcerned and referenced their Copa America title in 2011 as why he is not too worried about the situation.
Back then, Uruguay had drawn their first two games in the group stages but managed to progress to the knockout rounds and they would then go on to the final and defeat Paraguay 3-0 to claim the trophy at Argentina.
“We are aware that there is pressure there and we also believe that in our prior performances, we haven’t fully lived up to our potential,” said Tabarez, according to Reuters.
“But we face that with calmness. We have had these situations before. In the Copa America in 2011, it was a similar situation, there were matches where we were far from brilliant.
“We knew in the first knockout rounds you could not fail there and we had to face Argentina, but we won in the end.
“Those are experiences we have in the past. Of course, we cannot rest on our laurels and we are working on possible deficiencies, possible ways of improving and to find solutions that can help us on the pitch.”
The 71-year-old is not planning to make any serious changes ahead of their game against Russia, despite having already qualified for the last 16.
“We will not think about resting players, we want to play seven matches and we are preparing for that and we know after every match how much regeneration is necessary,” he said.
The two nations will meet at the Cosmos Arena at 16:00 (GMT +2).