Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez has played down suggestions that the Celeste are among the favourites to win the Copa America in Brazil.
Uruguay won their first match of the tournament against Ecuador 4-0 and will guarantee their passage to the quarterfinals if they overcome Japan at Porto Alegre’s Arena do Gremio on Thursday.
“We want to move onto the next phase and if possible progress further, but everything depends on the next match. We’re not looking beyond that,” Tabarez was quoted as telling the reporters on Wednesday by Xinhua news agency.
While Uruguay started the competition in emphatic fashion, Japan suffered a 0-4 defeat to defending champions Chile.
Japan have come under criticism by some commentators here for choosing an inexperienced squad that is bereft of several senior players.
But Tabarez said his men are preparing to be tested against the Asian side, who beat the Celeste 4-3 in a friendly last October.
“They have players who are fast and resistant,” the 72-year-old said. “It will be a difficult game and they are a team that we have to respect.”