Tabarez - Suarez is no cheat

05 July 2010 10:01

Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez insisted his side will feel no embarrassment when they line up against Holland in the World Cup semi-final at the Green Point stadium on Tuesday night.

Tabarez maintains that Luis Suarez did not cheat when he handled the ball on the line to deprive Ghana of a quarter-final winner in the last seconds of extra time. Suarez, who likened the handball to Diego Maradona's infamous 'Hand of God' goal against England in 1986, is suspended from the semi-final.

Clearly angry at the questioning of Suarez, Tabarez said: "I'm embarrassed by what has been asked. Don't talk to me about a lack of modesty."

He added: "It was an instinctive act. Suarez couldn't foresee what happened afterwards, that Ghana would miss the penalty.

"We are very proud and we're upset with this topic. We're proud of our performances and what we've contributed to the development of football at this World Cup.

"Uruguay went through almost three matches without a yellow card at all, so please don't tell me we're cheats."

It was a feisty press conference as Tabarez refused to give an update on the injured Diego Lugano or to name his starting XI as he had promised, claiming the Uruguayan press had been spying on his training sessions.

"Some journalists are playing as war correspondents," Tabarez said.

Tabarez was prepared to talk about a Holland side which has reached the semi-final after winning all eight of their qualifying matches plus five games in South Africa, including knocking out Brazil 2-1 in the quarter-finals. He spotlighted Arjen Robben as their biggest danger and denied that he was a diver.

"He's a great footballer," Tabarez said. "He's very fast, very nimble, very long strides. When he shifts his body it's difficult to react. Like any footballer who is hit on the pitch, well, I wouldn't say he is a 'cheat'. These are things that happen in football. It's up to the referee to determine the players' intentions."

Source: PA