The year of the World Cup is also being the year of the Uruguayan Luis Suarez, the Liverpool striker, top scorer in Europe, who along with his compatriot Edinson Cavani striker Paris Saint- Germain, is part of the global elite players. Two Uruguayans left no spontaneous generation but come from a small nation of 3.3 million people known to be exporting professional football.
Uruguay reach Brazil 2014 as the fourth team in South Africa 2010, champion of America in 2011 and fifth in the FIFA rankings. With a national league 34 teams moves first and second divisions, 29 of them from Montevideo, the Uruguayan championship weighs less than ten million dollars a year in television broadcasting rights and the players are the lowest paid in Latin America along with Bolivia. Yet selection is a miracle that La Celeste coach, Oscar Washington Tabarez revered explained as the product of a whole ” football culture “.
The teacher, as they call it in Uruguay, began in 2006 a change in the structure of competition in order to overcome what he called ” the globalization gap ” that led to the departure of the best players to foreign teams. Tabarez took special dedication to finding the perfect player profile destined to come to La Celeste, the ” patriot ” can win in the big European leagues and also to give everything at home.
La Celeste, who will face the first round on June 19 to England and then to Costa Rica and Italy. The choice now is unpredictable in a world in which the powerful almost always win.
Faced with such high expectations, the master Tabarez strives to take pressure off his players. Last April explained to several foreign media “??? Uruguay reach the final based on what, the people, why organization, why economic power, why large international performances,”Tabarez raised.” Germany has three times more registered football players we total population,” he added. “In football there is also a first world and third world.”
However, against pessimism Tabarez conspires a whole record. Uruguay, who won two World Cups (1930 and 1950 Maracanazo) and not less than fifteen Copa America, has a prominent place in the history of football instead. Or in the ” prehistory ” as some fun.
“There’s a symbiosis between the country and its football,” sums Mario Romano, director of the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo. In the early twentieth century, when Uruguay was imposed on the courts around the world, was also a rich country that came to afford to travel to European teams ruined by the war in 1930 when it hosted the first World Cup ever. After decades of economic decline, the fourth in La Celeste in South Africa comes at a time of economic boom.
Football and Uruguay advance together in a reality that is embodied in a general and daily practice of sport. Starting with the attendance at stadiums, with tickets ranging from 80 pesos (about 2.5 euros) to 500 (about 15 euros), allowing “football reaches the entire society,” says Romano, who heads the only stadium in the world declared ” Memorial Football” by FIFA.
” The leagues Children (5-12 years) soccer are the most important social event in the country, without any financial support from anyone. Every weekend in Montevideo played about 3000 games, ” says meanwhile Roberto Mauro, owner of a moving company, three times president of the Neighborhood Union youth team.
Roberto Mauro key to the success of their country lies in the national temperament, ” pride, nationalism and pride,” he says. ” The Uruguayan playing 110 %. Look at Brazil, they prefer to play against Germany than against us, ” he says.
A passion that some call real ” disease” and also vibrates in the National League, especially in historical rivals Penarol and Nacional.
The Uruguayan president Julio Maria Sanguinetti (1985-1990 and 1995-2000), honorary president of Peñarol, who on Sunday won 5-0 at Nacional, a win that was not repeated in 1953, explains: “The teams are born with arrival of the British and the railroad in the early twentieth century. Football is the expression of the industrial revolution and labor legislation, which opens a space of time for workers. The appearance of Peñarol and Nacional created little by little a dialectic that engulfed the country, ” he adds.
Like any self-respecting Uruguayan, Sanguinetti has a ” cabal ” or superstitious gesture done to help your team. “I have to take five cafes in the stadium when playing Penarol, five. It is a very sweet coffee I do not like and will end up costing gastritis, but what can we do, it is necessary, “he laughs.
Now, the good players go abroad and recover someday seems an unattainable goal. How long you can withstand the Uruguayan passion for soccer modernization and mass?
Eduardo Ache, National President, has faith in the future but warns that ” those old glories also stalled us,” referring to the weight of myths like this Maracanazo in football history. Uruguay ‘s epic victory against Brazil in the 1950 World Cup is part of the national identity, but for Ache ” is worth a fourth place in South Africa, competing against dozens of countries, the World Maracanazo when the invitation was going.”
Ache cites match Uruguay vs. Ghana (1-1) in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in South Africa, an encounter that sparked a genuine moment of national euphoria because it was a claim of temperament Local fighter.
” Luis Suarez chose to cause a penalty and they kicked him as long as your team does not make a goal,” recalls Ache. “For some these was cheating but for us it was to do everything to not lose.”
With a budget of 15 million dollars annually, “which spends FC Barcelona in 15 days,” jokes Ache, National is one of the most prized quarry players in the world. But where La Celeste hopes to follow in the global elite are concentrated.
Football “is the place where you can match with the two powers that dominate you ” sums up the young sportswriter Diego Tabarez – no relation to national – team coach, referring to Argentina and Brazil.
No doubt, the decisive factor that explains the phenomenon of Uruguayan football is in the relationship with neighboring Brazil and Argentina, two giants often ruthlessly crushed the Uruguayans modest. “We’re like the little brother constantly beaten by older, who ultimately learns and becomes something tremendous,” says the journalist.