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'We're not cheats'-Tabarez

CAPE TOWN, July 5- Uruguay coach Oscar Tabarez said on Monday he was angry and upset that his team had been accused of cheating their way into the World Cup semi-finals after Luis Suarez's controversial handball against Ghana.Their star striker deliberately handled the ball on the goal-line in the dying seconds of extra-time in their quarter-final, preventing a certain goal.

Asamoah Gyan then sent the subsequent penalty crashing off the crossbar with the last kick of the game to give the Uruguayans a reprieve that they exploited by prevailing 4-2 in the shoot-out that followed.

Suarez was red-carded and given a one-match ban that means he will miss the match against the Netherlands here on Tuesday, but his actions sparked claims, mostly in the British press, that Uruguay had cheated.

Asked by a British journalist if he was embarrassed to be in the semi-finals, Tabarez replied: "Perhaps you should ask Suarez that. Like any other person, he always replies when asked.

"What I am embarrassed about, especially in the British press, is the whole story. I don’t know why British journalists have done this, which is shameful.

"It has happened before when a footballer is on the goal-line and handled the ball. It was an instinctive reaction.

"Suarez could not foresee that Ghana would miss a penalty."

Tabarez added that the Uruguayans were a humble people and said La Celeste had nothing but their footballing prowess to thank for being where they were.

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"Don’t talk to me about a lack of humility from the Uruguay players and people," he said.

"I’m very upset with this whole issue. We feel very proud of our performances and behaviour at this World Cup.

"Uruguay have had three matches with no yellow cards, so don’t tell me, or suggest, that we cheat, because I don’t accept that at all."

While Suarez only got a one-match ban, meaning he will be available for either the final or the third-place play-off, he made matters worse by claiming after the game that it was the 2010 version of the ‘Hand of God’.

"This was the end of the World Cup. I had no choice. I have the ‘Hand of God’ now," he said.

Argentina’s Diego Maradona famously credited a goal against England at the 1986 World Cup to the ‘Hand of God’ after he scored with his hand.

"I did it so that my team-mates could win the penalty shoot-out. When I saw Gyan miss the penalty it was a great joy," added Suarez.

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