Uruguay captain Diego Lugano has urged his side to treat its remaining World Cup qualifiers like five finals, beginning with Tuesday's clash against Venezuela.
With just five matches remaining, Uruguay sits seventh in the CONMEBOL qualification table, and, with only the top four guaranteed of a place in Brazil next summer, Oscar Tabarez's side faces an uphill battle to keep its hopes of qualifying alive.
“We need to realize that the golden run we had is now over and that if we’re going to qualify for the World Cup, we need to start from scratch,” Lugano told reporters. “A new qualifying competition starts in Venezuela and ahead lie five finals. We have to take something from each of those games, especially against our direct rivals.”
Uruguay sits three points behind Venezuela, which currently holds the would-be playoff spot against an Asian side in fifth place, and Tabarez has urged his side to focus on securing three points on Tuesday.
“We are in a situation in which we urgently need to get closer, and that means to win this match. It is a final, but it is feasible,” Tabarez told reporters. “We have five matches left against teams that are ahead of us, and we’re going to deal with them one at a time. If we win this first one, we will have to do the same thing with the second. This is not the first time we have faced a complicated moment. But this is a match that depends on us, that’s all.”
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