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England vs Uruguay World Cup 2014: Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez praises Edinson Cavani in 'neutralising' Steven Gerrard to secure tactical triumph

Uruguay prevailed 2-1 in Sao Paulo

Uruguay manager Oscar Tabarez said that the tactical key to his nation’s victory over England had been Edinson Cavani’s role in snuffing out Steven Gerrard’s creativity.

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Tabarez claimed that England “don't have any weaknesses” and said that Cavani’s selflessness had had an important role in quelling Gerrard’s ability to distribute. “Cavani played a very important role neutralising [Gerrard],” he said. “Gerrard couldn't create the opportunities he normally does because Cavani was facing him most of the time and stopping him. They had more difficulties today than they normally do reaching the goal. That was the key.”

England might have predicted that Uruguay would try to stem Gerrard’s output. The Independent columnist Rafael Benitez wrote yesterday that when England were in possession “Gerrard will drop off a little bit and try to play and create.” He wrote that the uncertainty was whether one of Tabarez’s strikers might try to press him, or possibly a midfielder, creating extra space for England in the midfield. In the event, Uruguay went for the first of those options, asking Paris Saint Germain’s Cavani to make a sacrifice and keeping the midfield tight.


Tavarez  admitted that his side’s football - based on physicality, tenacity and getting the ball through to Suarez and Cavani – was not sophisticated. “Maybe we do no not have a very attractive form of football but we keep fighting,” he said. “The players love their country.”

He admitted that his defence “got a little lost” at times against Roy Hodgson’s team but said that he would have needed a world class team to deny them more space than they did, after the Uruguayan press core questioned the liberties given in that respect, when the game had finished. His side were not one of the best in the world, he insisted.

“This is nothing to do with planning and training and training. It is about the endurance and persistence and will of my players. They were able to score because they kept fighting. If this was a movie, people probably couldn't have wished for a better storyline, at least in Uruguay. We have won.

“We tried to control England’s strengths. They don’t have weaknesses. Their play from the midfield is incredible. Four strikers who are all goalscorers who play all over the field. They know how to create opportunities. We have won. We have beaten a European team after a long, long time. Many people said we wouldn't be able to do so. It's a special day. Both goals were scored by Luis Suarez, a player who was injured a month ago and had to undergo surgery, so this game was loaded with symbolism. But we can still fight. We're still alive. But we have not qualified yet for the next phase.”