Uruguay coach Oscar Washington Tabarez denied that his team's 20-year wait for a FIFA World Cup™ victory has increased the pressure on his players.
Uruguay face hosts South Africa in the Loftus Versfeld stadium on Wednesday in a game neither side can afford to lose with all four teams in Group A level on one point after the first round of matches. But it is the weight of history that many feel could be getting to the defensive minded Uruguayans.
A 1-0 win over South Korea in their final group match in 1990 was the last time the South Americans tasted victory in the global showpiece. Since then they have failed to qualify three times out of five and have drawn three and lost two in FIFA World Cups since that win over the Koreans.
But Tabarez does not believe that will be on his players' minds. "You can talk about pressure and yes you can put pressure on yourselves but there shouldn't be excessive pressure," he said. "You shouldn't be hindered by it and I think as it's our second match we will feel more comfortable, we will feel better.
"I can't discuss the reasons for this run right now because they run deep, it's not a question of the coach or the players. We're all aware of this, the players and coaches, but we now feel we're in a position to really try to change our record, not just for us but also because there has been great expectation in Uruguay over the last few months.
"There are many young people back there and many who will be watching Uruguay at the World Cup for the first time. We want to deliver and not just out of personal vanity. This is a reason to be motivated, it's not pressure, it's a push."