Tabarez calls for greater composure

LA SERENA (Chile) - Oscar Tabarez believes that his Uruguay side must take that extra second making decisions on the ball to have a chance of retaining their Copa America crown.

The holders reached the last eight with four points as one of the two best third-placed teams following Saturday's 1-1 Group B draw with Paraguay, and will meet hosts Chile in the opening quarter-final on Wednesday.

Centre-back Jose Maria Gimenez put Uruguay in front after 29 minutes with a header from Carlos Sanchez' corner, the ball going in off the post.

The equaliser came on the stroke of half-time, with the striker Lucas Barrios nodding an Edgar Benitez corner emphatically past Fernando Muslera.

"The match was as hard as we thought, played according to the characteristics of the teams," Tabarez said after the rematch of the 2011 final. "There was a lot of battling for the ball.

"In the second half, we came close more times (than them) but lacked calm at key moments. We didn't make the most of chances we had in the Paraguay box."

He felt that team spirit has helped overcome apparently insurmountable odds during his nine years in charge.

This is the sixth time in seven tournaments that Uruguay have scraped into the last eight of the Copa as one of the best third-placed teams and, on five of those occasions, they went on to reach the semi-finals.

Paraguay, who are unbeaten in three matches, have improved under new coach Ramon Diaz after a disappointing spell during which they failed to reach the 2014 World Cup.

Paraguay and group winners Argentina will know who their opponents are after the Group C matches involving Brazil, Peru, Venezuela and Colombia this morning (Singapore time).

Midfielder Nestor Ortigoza came off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, and Diaz suggested he might see no further action in the tournament.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 22, 2015, with the headline 'Tabarez calls for greater composure'. Print Edition | Subscribe