Few national teams boast the World Cup heritage of Uruguay. The country of around 3 million hosted and won the first World Cup in 1930, as well as delivering one of the biggest upsets in history in 1950, beating Brazil in Rio.
CGTN’s Joel Richards reports.
Though the focus is now on the country’s debut in Russia this Friday, there are hopes it will host the 100th anniversary torment in 2030.
Dario Rodriguez was the left back for Uruguay in the 2002 World Cup. His goal against Denmark is often ranked among the best World Cup goals of all time.
“Playing in a world Cup is indescribable. I have played in important games in the Champions League, and in the Copa Libertadores, but the level of adrenaline in a World Cup is unique,” said Rodriguez.
Like many Uruguayans, Rodriguez is excited by the team’s chances in Russia.
This will a fourth World Cup for Oscar Tabarez, despite El Maestro’s ill-health.
The widely respected coach has selected a group of young players to complement world-class players like Luis Suarez, Edison Cavani and captain Diego Godin.
But Uruguay has World Cup ambitions beyond Russia 2018.
Uruguay, together with Argentina and Paraguay, are proposing a bid for the 2030 World Cup. While it is still many years away already there is controversy and a debate over what should happen to this stadium, the Centenario, which hosted the 1930 World Cup.”
There is wide support for Uruguay to host the 100th anniversary of the first World Cup. But this old stadium is largely unchanged from when it was first built, and many supporters want it kept that way for its history-vocally opposing any plans for an upgrade.
Dario Rodriguez, though, doesn’t see modernizing as a problem.
“It is always going to be the stadium where Uruguay won the first World Cup, ” added Rodriguez.
Journalist Juan Carlos Scelza, who has covered every World Cup since 1990 for radio and television, says he doesn’t his country winning the 2030 bid in any case.
“The problem here is the difference between the utopia and reality. I see it as a utopia. If you look around the world and I have been lucky to travel and see other stadiums, and if you see the World Cups and look at the requisites that FIFA demand of stadiums to host a World Cup, I don’t see that here, nor in Argentina nor in Paraguay,” said journalist Juan Carlos Scelza.
Uruguay will continue to work on its bid to host the 2030 tournament with its neighbors, ?but the debate over its famous stadium will be put aside for the coming month. La Celeste start their World Cup campaign.