Oscar out to prove oracle octopus wrong

Last Updated: Sat, Jul 10, 2010 05:01 hrs

​Port Elizabeth: Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez thinks it's time to prove Germany's oracle octopus wrong.

Tabarez said he isn't superstitious but the selection of Germany by the world famous octopus Paul to win the third-place playoff on Saturday at Port Elizabeth's Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium is another motivation for his team.

"It's not just a matter of beating Germany but also beating the octopus," a smiling Tabarez said on Friday on the eve of the penultimate game of the World Cup. "It would be absolutely spectacular, and I think it is possible.

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"(It) would send a message to everyone by saying nothing is impossible in football."

The octopus has correctly predicted the result of all six of Germany's games - including the semifinal loss to Spain - and five out of six matches at the 2008 European Championship.

Meanwhile, Germany captain Philipp Lahm and forward Lukas Podolski missed Friday's training with a cold, as did coach Joachim Loew.

Striker Miroslav Klose had some fitness tests on his back problems in the team hotel, while backup goalkeeper Tim Wiese sat it out because of a right knee injury.

Even with a growing sick list, Germany is still the favorite, according to Tabarez.

"Since 1934, Germany has been participating all the time in the World Cup and Germany has written a great history in the book of the World Cups," he said.

"Before the match against Spain this (German side) had been the best team of the tournament, so this is very motivating for us. We recognize this match will be difficult but we don't think it will be impossible."

Uruguay, a two-time World Cup winner, is also playing for its place in history. Victory would give the South Americans their best finish at a World Cup since winning its last title in 1950.

"We have overall delivered great performances," Tabarez said. "I think overall it has been a great World Cup (for Uruguay)."

Tabarez said strikers Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, who is back after a one-game suspension, will both start.

Forlan, who is fit after being substituted in the semifinal loss to the Netherlands with a right thigh injury, has scored four goals at the World Cup, one goal fewer than leading scorers David Villa of Spain and Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder.

Forlan has also been nominated among the 10 candidates to be selected as the best player of the tournament, but Tabarez said Forlan was not focused on personal awards.

"It's a matter of standing up for our country and he has done so," Tabarez said. "It would be great for Uruguayan football if he was taken into account as one of the top players (at the World Cup) ... but he is not going for that. It is a collective sport."

Tabarez paid tribute to his team's fighting spirit ahead of what could be his last game in charge.

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"At any rate tomorrow, my contract with the Uruguayan football association will be over and that's it," Tabarez said. "Whatever comes in the future will depend on me."

Germany assistant coach Hansi Flick was unable to confirm that Lahm, Podolski or Klose, who also has four goals in South Africa and is one shy of Brazilian forward Ronaldo's all-time World Cup record of 15, would play.

"They are a little better but we still can't say who will be able to play," Flick said. "Klose only jogged a bit today. We'll have to see how it will be tomorrow before the game.

"No matter who plays I am sure they will give their best. We want third place and we want to show a good game."

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