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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

Football

Brazil wary of Uruguay firepower
Agence France-Presse, Hindustan Times
FORTALEZA, June 26, 2013
First Published: 01:12 IST(26/6/2013)
Last Updated: 01:14 IST(26/6/2013)

Brazil may have waltzed through their group to reach the semifinals of the Confederations Cup but they are only too aware of the party pooping abilities of Wednesday's opponents’ Uruguay.

It was the Uruguayans who delivered Brazilian football its arguably greatest blow in winning the 1950 final in Rio's famed Maracana stadium, the revamped version of which will host Sunday's final where either world champions Spain or Italy await.

More recently, Uruguay have also shown they can mix it with their more powerful neighbours, the nation of barely 3.5 million lifting the 2011 Copa America in Argentina, where Brazil lost in the quarterfinals to Paraguay.

Brazil goalkeeper Julio Cesar on Monday warned the host nation they must beware if they are not to suffer an ambush at Belo Horizonte, a venue which earned its own place in World Cup folklore in the 1950 event by hosting a United States win over England.

Uruguay have shown some mediocre form in World Cup qualifying but the 2011 South American champions have found som form with wins in Brazil over Nigeria and thrashing minnows Tahiti.

Moreover, Julio Cesar points out that in Edinson Cavani, Diego Forlan - match winner against Nigeria with a record 34th goal for the Celeste - and Luis Suarez the Uruguayans have no shortage of firepower.

"They are very strong in attack and can decide a game on their own," the shot-stopper said. The trio is set to return after being rested for the 8-0 whipping of Tahiti.

"I know them all well and we shall have to beware. The tiniest thing can decide a match," added Cesar, who faces the prospect of playing second tier English football next season after being relegated with Queens Park Rangers.

Brazil, starting to come to the boil under 2002 World Cup handler Luiz Felipe Scolari, saw off Japan, Mexico and Italy but Uruguay had to regroup after losing their first match against world champions Spain, who will face Italy in the other semi-final.

The four semifinalists have won 12 World Cups between them - a record five for Brazil, four for Italy, two for the Uruguayans and one for Spain.

Uruguay last beat the Selecao in 2001 - ironically it was Luiz Felipe Scolari's first match in charge, but Big Phil would months later lift the World Cup to land a Pentacampeao or fifth title. Uruguay's wily coach Oscar Tabarez accepts Brazil are probably favourites, but he sticks to an old optimist's dictum.

“In football, nothing is imposible. Though it will be tough as Brazil are a great team and playing at home,” he said.


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