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Q & A: Uruguay coach Victor Pua

Posted: Tuesday April 23, 2002 7:07 PM

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What do you think of the draw?
It's going to be hard, but you can't choose your opponents. Everyone knows France, Denmark did very well in qualification, and we won't be underestimating Senegal, who have some excellent players, many of them based in France.

You stepped up from assistant after the shock resignation of Daniel Passarella. What was your reaction to that?
I really didn't expect Daniel to resign. I have a lot of respect for his decision. I hold him in high regard because he treated me very well, and I consider him a friend.

You were the last team to book your finals place. Did you expect to have to go through the playoff against Australia?
At one point I thought we might go through directly, but the defeat by Venezuela put us in a difficult position. The important thing is that we qualified.

What are the strengths of your team?
During qualification, Uruguay always did well when it mattered, in the key games. I see the side as solid at the back and in midfield. If we score goals or not, it's a case of whether our gunpowder is wet or dry on the day.

Where do you need to improve?
There are always things to be improved. We have a good base, but we need to combine precision with velocity in order to surprise the opposition and create chances.

Is it a problem for you that you have so many players abroad?
The fact that they are with some of the biggest teams in the world is exactly because they're such good players. The Uruguayan public would obviously prefer them to stay to be able to enjoy watching them every week. But the economic differences and the power of these teams make it inevitable that they get transferred.

You have a very young squad. Do you think your side lack experience?
Uruguayan football is in a moment of transition. A new generation is coming through, and the youngsters have done very well. But we have a blend, because the youngsters have the support of four or five more experienced players.

Uruguay have not reached the World Cup finals since 1990. How do you think this year's tournament will be different from the qualification campaign?
One big difference is the fact that in the World Cup you don't have all the stress of either being the home team or the visitors. Now we're on neutral ground, and I'm sure it will be a great football party.

From World Soccer magazine.

 
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