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Tuesday, 21 May, 2002, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
Pua stands up for himself
Pua attacked his critics in the Uruguayan media
Pua attacked his critics in the Uruguayan media

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Uruguay flew in to Singapore for a friendly international against the national team on Tuesday and coach Victor Pua took the opportunity to hit back at his critics in the domestic media.

Pua is particularly unhappy at the way he has been treated since the call-up of veteran forward Daniel Fonseca two weeks ago.

Open Quote
I never said he was going to play - I wanted to evaluate him
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Victor Pua

In the end, Fonseca was one of four players excluded from the World Cup squad on Sunday. But his provisional selection caused an outcry in Uruguay because of the striker's recent poor form.

Fonseca, 32, a veteran of the 1990 World Cup, was unwanted at Juventus before returning to South America at the start of the season.

However he failed to deliver the goods for Argentina's River Plate and moved to Nacional on a free transfer specifically to boost his World Cup prospects.

There was a feeling in Uruguay that he was imposed upon Fonseca despite a lack of form.

"If you have a look at what I said when I selected Fonsenca, you will see that I never said he was going to play, but that I wanted to evaluate him," Pua said on Monday.

Open Quote
Some have talked about corruption and questioned my character - how will my family feel about that?
Close Quote
Victor Pua

"It was a gamble, but now it is clear that he wouldn't have enough time (to recover his best form after injury)."

Pua was especially angry about speculation in the Uruguayan media that there were political motives behind his brief recall to the squad.

"Some have talked about corruption, some questioned my character. But I have a wife, kids, a family. How will they feel about that?"

Fonseca and the other three excluded players are part of the group that travelled from Japan to Singapore.

Pua left several players resting in Japan who seem poised to start the match against Denmark on 1 June.

Among those missing this warm-up match are Paolo Montero, Alvaro Recoba, Dario Silva and Sebastian Abreu.

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