Uruguay can go all the way and win the 2010 World Cup, coach Oscar Tabarez said after seeing his team achieve its best finals result in 56 years by outclassing host nation South Africa 3-0 in Pretoria.
The South Americans last managed such an emphatic win at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland when defeating Scotland 7-0 and Tabarez on Wednesday said he feels two-time champions Uruguay are finally awakening from a slumber that has seen them in the doldrums for decades.
A fourth place finish at the 1970 World Cup in Mexico was the last time Uruguay managed to make it to the semi-final stages while they last made it past the group stages in 1990 and the country failed to qualify for four of the last five tournaments.
"We came to this World Cup in the hope that we would do something different to what Uruguay has done since the 1970s. We've never come close to third or fourth place," said Tabarez, who took over the helm in February 2006.
"We are convinced that we can win the World Cup. There might be teams that are better than us but we are convinced that we can be a tough rival for any team."
The 63-year-old also dismissed claims by South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreirra that Swiss referee Massimo Busacca's decision to send of Bafana Bafana goalkeeper Itumeleng Khune and award a penalty with 14 minutes remaining was the turning point in the tie.
"I certainly can't agree," said Tabarez. "I even laugh at the suggestion that Uruguay won this game on account of the referee because we dominated the game. Uruguay deserved to win this match."