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Page last updated at 22:27 GMT, Tuesday, 6 July 2010 23:27 UK

World Cup 2010: Tabarez proud despite Uruguay defeat

Giovanni van Bronckhorst

Highlights - Uruguay 2-3 Netherlands

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said he was proud of his side's World Cup performance despite their 3-2 semi-final defeat by the Netherlands.

Uruguay exceeded all expectations after having to beat Costa Rica in a play-off to book their place in the finals.

"I'm proud of the team. They've played on an equal footing with the Netherlands. You couldn't ask for more from these players," said Tabarez.

"We went very far, no one expected it, so that helps the sadness of defeat."

Uruguay's appearance in the semi-final in Cape Town was their first in the last four of a World Cup since 1970 - after winning the tournament in 1930 and 1950.

In a first-half lacking in excitement, the Netherlands took the lead when Giovanni van Bronckhorst lashed in, only for Diego Forlan to level from long range.

From the first minute Forlan had a problem. I'm not dumb enough to take him out at 3-1 when the match wasn't lost

Oscar Tabarez

Wesley Sneijder restored the Dutch side's lead despite Robin van Persie appearing to be offside, and an Arjen Robben header made it 3-1 three minutes later.

However, Maxi Pereira reduced the deficit to 3-2 to set up a tense finish, and their fighting qualities pleased their coach.

"If we had to choose a way to lose it would have been this way," added Tabarez.

"We accept the defeat, our rivals were better in front of goal.

"I knew the Dutch footballers were rich technically, who could score at any moment.

Diego Forlan

Forlan's swerving equaliser deceives Dutch keeper

"Now we have seen the second goal was offside and the match could have been different for us... They gained in composure.

"The Dutch team has an attacking spirit, one of the best in this tournament but we never gave up and our last stoppage time goal showed we were trying until the end."

At 3-1 down the Uruguay coach surprisingly substituted captain and top scorer Forlan.

"From the first minute he had a problem. I'm not dumb enough to take him out at 3-1 when the match wasn't lost," explained Tabarez.

"He was injured and could not continue."

Maxi Pereira

Late Pereira strike sets up grand finale

Tabarez will need to pick his side up for Saturday's third-place play-off match in Port Elizabeth against the team which loses the second semi-final, between Spain and Germany on Wednesday.

"Saturday's match is important to us in that sense," stated Tabarez.

"When we look back, we can say we are among the four semi-finalists, the other three are powerhouses of Europe."

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see also
Van Marwijk 'so proud' of Dutch
06 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup semi-final photos
06 Jul 10 |  World Cup 2010
Uruguay Photo Album
28 Apr 10 |  World Cup 2010
Team tracker and Predictor
27 May 10 |  World Cup 2010
World Cup venues
05 Dec 09 |  World Cup 2010

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