Uruguay manages entry into World Cup finals

updated: February 25, 2007 08:37 IST
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Uruguay became the 32nd and final nation to qualify for the 2002 World Cup finals on Sunday when they overcame a 1-0 first-leg deficit by beating Australia 3-0 in the play-off second leg in Montevideo. Two late goals from substitute Richard Morales after Dario Silva had levelled the aggregate score, meant the South Americans booked their place in next summer's finals in South Korea and Japan. Uruguay knew they needed a big win and a goal after just 13 minutes put the South American side on top. Dario Silva latched on to a long ball, before sliding it across the Australian Keeper. The visitors responded well as two minutes later Leeds striker Harry Kewell forced the home keeper to pull off a great save. The Aussies had another chance to level the match in the 64th minute, but Leeds mid fielder Mark Viduka failed to find the target with his header. It proved costly for the visitors, after Uruguay doubled their lead in the 70th minute, with substitute Richard Morales powering a header into the goal off a free kick. And Uruguay sealed Australia's fate in injury time, Morales scoring from close range for his second goal of the match. With the 3-0 win, Uruguay booked the last berth for the 2002 World Cup with a 3-1 aggregate score. The victory sparked off celebration all over Uruguay. Meanwhile in Australia there were tears. This is the second successive time that Australia have thrown away a lead in World Cup play-off matches. Four years ago, they led against Iran but failed to make it count, missing out on a trip to France 98.