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The veteran defender has called on his team-mates to show their mental strength as they navigate a tricky group that includes England and Italy

Uruguay defender Diego Lugano has paid tribute the strength of character his team-mates showed in securing a World Cup berth.

Oscar Tabarez’s experienced side made a storming star to their CONMEBOL qualification campaign but a six-game winless run following a disappointing Olympic campaign meant they needed an intercontinental play-off victory over Qatar to secure a place in Brazil.

And Lugano took to Twitter to reference that triumph amid a stirring address ahead of their first Group D game of the tournament against Costa Rica in Fortaleza on Saturday.

In a series of posts on Thursday, the defender said: "Brazil 2014 World Cup begins today. Our really tough moment would have defeated many others but we turned it round with character and strength

"It's a characteristic of Uruguayan football that we rise from the ashes. In the toughest moment, we became even more united.

"The only World Cup that was played in Brazil was won by Uruguay and so the history, the legend, made it an obligation for us to be here."

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