Uruguayan football

 The people of Uruguay have a special word that helps explain something impossible – “la garra”. And most often it is used in a football context. Explaining how a country with a population of 3.5 million has become one of the greatest football powers is indeed not easy. Uruguay gave the world such famous teams as Atenas, Boston River, Liverpool Montevideo, Cerro, El Tanque Sisley and many other. Football club Fénix has a special history. “We have a real football culture in our country. The ball is the first gift a boy receives. This is how the passion for the game is brought up. And at the World Cup, all the work in Uruguay will be paralyzed, you can believe me,” Uruguayan footballer Fernando Musler said.

The history of Uruguay football and their national team began as a true fairy tale. From the 30th to the 50th year, the team won two World Cups. However, after that, the Uruguayans often remained completely behind the world championship. The national team needed a savior and he appeared in the face of Oscar Tabares. Tabares has been working in the national team for 12 years. He completely reorganized the entire football system of the country. And the team literally blossomed. At the World Cup in South Africa, Uruguay became the fourth, and a year later won the America’s Cup. Oscar Tabares is 71 years old and has chronic neuropathy. At matches, the coach appears either on crutches or with a cane, but is not going to give up work. “Tabares is a coach who calms down the players, surrounds them with comfort. He has great experience and this is passed on to the team. Every player in the national team is fighting for him,” Uruguayan footballer Matías Vecino said.

Uruguay is the smallest country in Latin America. In the north it is bordered by Brazil and in the west by Argentina. Uruguay’s population is less than three million people. The most favorite activity of the locals is to drink mate and watch football. Uruguay is often called the “Latin American Switzerland”. Many Latinos, Americans and Europeans prefer to keep their savings in Uruguayan banks.


The Uruguay Cup was first held in 1900. In the first draw of the national championship was attended by only 4 clubs (all from Montevideo). The competition was held on a two-round system in 6 rounds. The first champion of Uruguay was the club, which is the progenitor of the current club Peñarol namely “Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club”, while winning all 6 matches with a goal difference of 36-2. This format of the championship was determined as the best one and in this format the tournament was held up to the 1970 season. In different years, only the number of teams in the Example changed. The maximum number of teams was recorded in the 1923 season, namely 32.

Uruguayan Champion Trophy

Since the 1970 season the first teams played the championship in two rounds, and then were divided into 2 groups. In group “A”, to determine the final place of the teams, points scored between teams in the championship were taken into account and in group “B” the team that took the 7th final place was exempted from matches for the right to stay in Example, and the teams that ranked 8 to 11 played matches among themselves in one round. At the same time the team that took the last place took off. This format took place another season, after which it was decided to again switch to the two-round system of the championship (sometimes the championship was held in one round). This scheme was used until the 1994 season, when the championship was switched to the Apertura / Clausura system, which is still in use today.

Nacional – the winner of the “Apertura” season 2014-2015

Before the 1999 season, Primera A was represented only by clubs from Montevideo, since the level of football development in the capital was much higher than in the provinces. In addition, since 1932 almost metropolitan clubs (except for Deportivo Maldonado) have received professional status. In the 2nd league, most teams were also from Montevideo. In 1998, the Uruguayan Football Association undertook a reform in the structure of the championship. The main tournament of the clubs was held – the champions of the regions which was won by Paysandu Bella Vista, which was adopted in the 1999 A season, in which three more non-capital clubs also played. This tournament was held for two more seasons, but its champions were no longer accepted in Example A. But it still gave its positive results: in many cities, local amateur clubs came together to form professional teams that are now playing in the country’s top leagues.

Peñarol – winner “Clausura” – 2017

The Uruguay Championship consists of four league levels: Example A (16 clubs), Example B (Segunda División Profesional (15 clubs)), Example C (Segunda División Amateur (16 clubs)) and regional league managed by the Interior Football Organization (only amateur clubs). The championship is held in three stages. At the first (Apertura) and second (Clausura) stages, the clubs determine the winner by playing matches in one round. In the third stage (final stage) the winner of the Aperture plays against the winner of Clausura. If there is a third club that did not win any of the stages, but scored the most points in the entire championship, the winner of the final stage plays for the champion title with this club.


As mentioned above, the champions of Uruguay at the moment are only clubs from Montevideo. However, the main struggle is between the two clubs: Peñarol and Nacional. To date, in the piggy bank Peñarol 51 champion trophy. Nacional has 46 victories in the national championship. Then there is the gigantic gap between these two clubs and all the others. Defensor Sporting, Montevideo Wanderers, Danubio and River Plate each have four wins in the national championship. Bella Vista, Central Espanyol, Progreso and Rampla Juniors each win a championship.

Uruguay football: Torneo Intermedio structure and Records

This tournament appeared only last year. In essence, this tournament is considered the Uruguay Cup, the winner of which gets the opportunity to play in the match for the Uruguay Super Cup and present Uruguay in the South American Cup. In addition, points scored by teams in this tournament are counted in the final table for the year. At first, the commands are divided into 2 groups of 8 teams each. In group “A” there are clubs that have taken odd places in the previous championship (1, 3, 5, etc.), in group B they play clubs that have taken even places in the previous championship (2, 4, 6, etc.). d.) After this, the teams play matches in one round between each other (7 matches). Then the winners of each group play the final. In the first draw of this trophy, the winners in the final were won by the Nacional club players, beating their rivals from Defensor Sporting with a score of 1: 0.

Uruguay Super Cup and tournament of new era Copa Coca-Cola

In the Super Bowl match, the two most titled clubs in Uruguay came together: Peñarol (champion) and National (winner of the Torneo Intermedio). The hard struggle, unfortunately, did not work: in the first half, Peñarol scored three unanswered goals, depriving the audience of intrigue. In the second half, the players of “Nacional” were able to score only a prestige goal, having gone from a “dry” defeat. In the international arena, Uruguay has achieved two of its strongest clubs (Penarol and Nacional) winning 25 international club trophies for 16 (16 are for Peñarol and 9 are for Nacional).

Let’s start with the main club tournament in South America – Libertadores Cup. In this tournament, Peñarol and National hold the record for the number of tournaments held: it’s 42 participation in each of the clubs. Peñarol won the main club trophy of South America 5 times, while losing in 10 finals (also a tournament record, along with “Boca Juniors”). In “Nacional” 3 wins in the Libertadores Cup with six defeats in the finals. The last success of the Uruguayan clubs came in 1988, when the “National” in the final beat the Argentine Newells Old Boys with a total score of 3: 1 (0: 1, 3: 0). And the last time the Uruguayan club was in the final in 2011: Peñarol in the two-game standoff lost the trophy to the Brazilian club “Santos” with a total score of 1: 2 (0: 0, 1: 2).

In the second most important club tournament in South America, called the South American Cup (Sudamerican Cup), the successes of Uruguayan clubs are modest by an order of magnitude. Only twice the Uruguayan clubs reached the 1/2 finals. The first time this event happened in 2002, when “Nacional” in the two-game standoff gave way to the finals of the Colombian club “Atletico Nacional” (1: 2, 2: 1 (3: 5 pen.)). And in 2009, “River Plate” from Montevideo lost in the semifinals to the future tournament winner to the Ecuadorian club “LDU” (Quito) with a total score of 2: 8 (2: 1, 0: 7). As for the Recopa of South America (similar to the UEFA Super Cup), then the Uruguayan clubs only once managed to take part in the trophy draw. In this competition in the very first National draw as the winner of the Libertadores Cup met with the winner of the Sudamerican Cup in the face of the Argentine Racing Club (Avelyaneda). In a tense two-game standoff, everything was decided by one goal scored in the first match on the “Nacional” field distinguished at 71 minutes Uruguayan striker Daniel Fonseca.

In the CONMEBAL Cup (analogous to the UEFA Cup), which existed from 1992 to 1999, the Uruguayan club Peñarol twice (in 1993 and 1994) reached the final, but both times lost to the Brazilian clubs: first Botafogo (1: 1, 2: 2 (1: 3 pen.)), And then “Sao Paulo” (1: 6, 3: 0). In the Intercontinental Football Cup (the forerunner of the FIFA club world championship), the capital Nacional and Peñarol each won 3 victories in the tournament. Nacional won the cup in 1971 (victory over the Greek Panathinaikos with a total score of 3: 2 (1: 1, 2: 1)), in 1980 (victory over the English Nottingham Forrest with a score of 1: 0), and in 1988 (victory over the Netherlands “PSV” with a score of 2: 2 (7: 6, pen.).

In addition to the Intercontinental Football Cup, Uruguayan clubs took part in two more Super Cups, which are currently not held. In the Super Cup of intercontinental champions (which was attended by European and South American clubs, winners of the Intercontinental Cup) in 1969, Peñarol won first place in the general table, ahead of the Argentine Racing and Estudiantes, as well as Brazilian Santos. The selection for the 1974 World Cup was a big stretch: in the group with Colombia and Ecuador, the Uruguayans won first place only thanks to a better goal difference (6: 2 from Uruguay against 3: 2 from Colombia), while losing in personal meetings to Colombians ( 0: 0, 0: 1). At the World Cup, the Uruguayans were in a medium-strong group, along with teams from the Netherlands, Sweden and Bulgaria. In the opening match with the Netherlands, the Uruguayans lost without a chance to their rivals with a score of 0: 2. In the next match with a notebook outsider, only a draw (1: 1) was obtained, and the Uruguayans leveled the score only 3 minutes before the end of the match.

In the last match of the group, only victory was necessary, but in the end, the Swedes won with a crushing 3-0 score. Having taken the last place in the group, the Uruguay national team went home. The next two selections for the 1978 World Cup and the 1982 World Cup, the Uruguay national team failed, taking both times only second places in the qualifying groups.

After two failures in the World Cup selection, the Uruguayans successfully qualified for the World Football Forum in 1986, taking first place in the qualifying group in the company with the national teams of Chile and Ecuador. The Uruguay national team conducted the final stage of the world championship ambiguously. In the group with the national teams of Germany, Denmark and Scotland, the Uruguayans took only third place, but went into the playoffs, as one of the four best teams that took third places in their groups. Here they lost the competition playing with in the 1/8 finals of the Argentina national team (0: 1).