Uruguay National Football
Often known as the first team to win the World Cup, Uruguay’s excellence isn’t something consigned to history, with the team producing many of the world’s best strikers over the last 20 years.
They perform just as well on the continental stage, winning Copa America consistently throughout their history.
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Thursday November 24 – Uruguay vs South Korea (Education City Stadium, Al Rayyan; kick-off 2pm).
Monday November 28 – Portugal vs Uruguay (Lusail Iconic Stadium, Lusail; kick-off 8pm).
Friday, December 2 – Ghana vs Uruguay (Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah; kick-off 4pm).
Uruguay National Football Rivalry with Argentina
At the beginning of the 20th century, the Uruguayan and Argentinean football sides seemed to have an obsession with playing one another. Uruguay National Football’s first-ever official match was against their neighbors, and although they lost 6-0, this didn’t deter them from playing them 29 times out of the country’s first 30 matches.
Broadening the Horizons
With the introduction of Copa America in 1916, the Uruguay National Football team got a chance to test its talent against some other sides. Clearly, the lack of variety beforehand hadn’t hindered the team’s progression too much as they took home the first-ever major international trophy. However, the side never really got out of the habit of winning the tournament, taking home the trophy at the next edition, which they hosted.
The side has never gone more than 16 years without winning the tournament since.
Always keen to be the first, in 1924, Uruguay was the first South American side to participate in football at the Olympics. Although their style was markedly different from their European opponents, the tournament was a breeze for Uruguay, who won every match. They took home the gold medal again four years later.
With the introduction of the World Cup in 1930, Uruguay found another tournament to dominate. The talent on the pitch was boosted by being elected as the host nation, and the team convincingly beat Argentina 4-2 in the final.
The team then boycotted the 1934 and 1938 World Cups for perceived injustices from the Europeans who hosted those editions.
They couldn’t be kept from glory for long, though; in 1950, the team won their second World Cup, although they did so as slight outsiders this time. Unfortunately, this would mark the end of Uruguay’s golden footballing era.
However, the team didn’t relent at the Copa America, which it won in the 50s, 60s, 80s, and 90s. During this time, though, the team started qualifying for the World Cup less often, reaching its lowest point in 1998 when it slipped to 76th in the FIFA world rankings.
The New Millennium
The side saw a resurgence after the turn of the century, particularly in the 2010s. At the 2010 World Cup, the team put in their most famous performance of the modern era when they reached the semi-finals. However, their participation is mainly remembered for their quarter-final victory over Ghana, when Luis Suarez palmed a shot off the line before La Celeste went on to win on penalties. Striker Diego Forlan was given the award for being the tournament’s top performer, despite his side finishing fourth.
2011 proved to be even more fruitful as the team won the Copa America for a record 15th time, with one of their forwards again named player of the tournament.
Uruguay goes into the 2022 World Cup at the tail end of a golden generation, but with the hope of further success.
Uruguayan Football Team Trivia
- For all the talk of Uruguay’s glory days in their own history, their biggest ever defeat was their first match in the 6-0 loss to Argentina.
- Uruguay’s top scorer ever is the controversial Luis Suarez, who has played for Liverpool, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid. He has scored 68 goals for his country.