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Uruguay take last World Cup spot

Sebastian Abreu celebrates putting Uruguay ahead
Abreu's opener put two-time world champions Uruguay on track for South Africa

Uruguay secured the final place at the 2010 World Cup by drawing 1-1 with Costa Rica to seal a 2-1 aggregate win.

The Charruas, who claimed a crucial 1-0 win in San Jose on Saturday, went ahead in Montevideo as Sebastian Abreu headed Diego Scotti's cross past Keylor Navas.

Costa Rica levelled when Walter Centeno fired in after Fernando Muslera failed to hold Alvaro Saborio's effort.

But despite seven minutes of stoppage time, the Ticos failed to find a winner and it was Uruguay who progressed.

The match was stopped for around five minutes when members of the media got involved in a scuffle with the Costa Rica substitutes.

But two-time World Cup winners Uruguay, contesting a third successive qualifying play-off, kept their composure to go through.


They qualified to Korea-Japan in 2002 by beating Australia, the same opponents who beat them ahead of the 2006 tournament.

They will join fellow South American teams Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Argentina at the finals in South Africa.

"It was very tough," said Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez. "This match mirrored the tie as a whole. I'm very happy. Fortunately, we made it, in spite of the way we did it.

"There is a lot to improve on. We'll do so and we'll have the World Cup to prove it. I'm very happy, mostly for the kids. The ones who are younger than eight-years-old have never seen this and now they can live it."

Captain Diego Lugano was disappointed Uruguay had to go through the play-offs, saying: "I am happy to qualify, but not for the way we've clinched it. It is unbelievable that we have to suffer this way."

Midfielder Alvaro Fernandez added: "We'll never make it into the World Cup comfortably, but it has a special taste."

Costa Rica coach Rene Simoes, who coached Jamaica in the 1998 World Cup, announced he will likely step aside from the position even if federation president Eduardo Li offers him a new deal.

"I spoke to the federation president before the match," he said. "He did not officially offer the job but left the doors open. However, four years is too much for me.

"I don't want four years anymore. I would like one and then to decide whether or not to go on. Coaching life is very difficult and I miss my family a lot."

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see also
Who has qualified for South Africa 2010?
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals
World Cup qualifying as it happened
18 Nov 09 |  Football
France 1-1 Rep of Ire (agg 2-1)
18 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Portugal secure spot at World Cup
18 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Yahia sends Algeria to World Cup
18 Nov 09 |  African
World Cup play-offs round-up
15 Nov 09 |  Internationals

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