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Uruguay “ We Made It.“

Posted November. 27, 2001 09:05,   


World Cup. While 3.2 million peoples jubilated, 19 million peoples were disappointed.

In the second leg of the playoff for the last ticket of the 2002 World Cup, Uruguay and Australia crossed each other toward totally different ends. Uruguay won a 3-0 victory to fall the cheering home fans into a festive mood. But defeated Australia fell into a deep anxiety to blow away the best opportunity to advance to the World Cup finals for the first time in 28 years.

Uruguay won a complete victory on goals of Dario Silva (1 goal) and Richard Morales (2 golas) to secure the 32nd ticket for the World Cup finals. Overcoming the defeat in first leg, Uruguay succeeded to turn their fate exceeding Australia by aggregate score to advance to the finals for the first time in 12 years since the 1990 Italy World Cup. It is Uruguay`s 10th appearance in the finals.

Uruguay, trailing 1-0 from the first leg, could level the aggregate, as Dario Silva, who missed the first leg after dislocating his shoulder, broke through in the 14th minute by connecting Alvaro Recoba`s corner kick to an initiative goal.

Backed up by the fanatic cheers of over 60,000 home fans, Uruguay pressed diffident Aussies more intensely in the second half. Morales, who replaced for Federico Magallanes, rose above the defender to head in the second goal in 25th minute of the second half, and added a third just before the end of game.

As soon as Uruguay was confirmed to qualify the finals, the whole nation of 3.2 million as well as crowded home fans at Centenario stadium were thrown into a state of feverish excitement. Even before the final whistle was blown, Uruguayan soccer fans poured into the streets of Montevideo waving the Uruguayan flags in national team uniform. Even though the roads were clogged with thousands of peoples, the taxi drivers shared the exciting moment blowing horns.

On the other hand, in spite of 1-0 lead from the first leg, Australia tried to strike back with Mark Viduka, Stan Lazaridis, and Harry Kewell only to represent the nightmare that had lost on aggregate to Argentina in a playoff for the 1994 World Cup and had lost on away goals to Iran in another playoff for France `98.

1.9 million Australian people were disappointed at the news of defeat. After watching the game beginning 5:30am Australian Time, some people went to work under the influence of liquor in a deep grief. Former Australian national team member Craig Poster lamented, "This is an incurable deep wound." And another former national team member Robie Slater said, "There must be a mistake in the qualifier system by which the Oceanian leader should contest with the South American fifth place."

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com