Football in Uruguay

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The team that won its second FIFA World Cup in 1950 beating Brazil at the final.

Football is the most popular sport in Uruguay. The Uruguay national football team has won two FIFA World Cup titles and reached three additional semifinals. The national team won the first edition of the tournament in 1930, and won it again in 1950.


The sport was first introduced by British immigrants and expatriates in the 19th century. Some references say that the game had been introduced in 1880, at the English High School by Henry Castle Ayre.[1] Henry Castle Ayre was born in Bedminster in March 1852.[2] The first Uruguayan club team (Albion FC) was established at Montevideo, by an English teacher at the William Leslie Poole School in 1882.[3]

Uruguay is a country with a population that currently does not exceed more than four million, and features a large concentration of professional football teams in the city of Montevideo. The two biggest club teams in the country's Primera División are Peñarol, which was established in 1891 (as Central Uruguay Railway Cricket Club -CURCC-, until 1913, when changed to the present name), and Nacional, founded in 1899.

National team[edit]

Diego Forlan of Uruguay, the best players in 2010

The Uruguayan national team have won more international tournaments than any other country. In the Copa América, they are the most successful team, having won 15 titles. Uruguay won the first FIFA World Cup in 1930, defeating fierce rivals Argentina in the final. In 1950, they won their second World Cup, defeating Brazil in the Maracanã in the final game. They have also won two Olympic gold medals in 1924 and 1928. Finally they also won the Mundialito in 1980 - a competition in Montevideo for all of the countries that had ever won the World Cup.

Between 1970 and 2010, they failed to reach the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup,[4] until the 2010 FIFA World Cup, when they finished fourth.

Club football[edit]

Club football in Uruguay is dominated by two big Montevideo clubs, Peñarol/CURCC and Nacional. Penarol combined with CURCC have won the Uruguayan Primera División 48 times, and Nacional 44 times, since it began in 1900. These clubs have won 3 times each the Intercontinental Cup also been successful in South American competition, with Nacional having won the Copa Interamericana twice and Copa Libertadores three times, and Peñarol having conquered Copa Libertadores five times. Recently; 2011 Peñarol reached to the finals, and fell against Brazilian Santos FC.

Matches between Peñarol and Nacional are termed the Uruguayan Clásico. The longest lasting football derby outside Great Britain.

Most other clubs in top division are also from Montevideo. In the 2010–11 Uruguayan Primera División season, only one club, Tacuarembó came from outside the capital. Nowadays (2011–12) Cerro Largo is the only department that is represented in Uruguay's First Division.

Many Uruguayan footballers have been successful in European football, including current players Luis Suárez, Edinson Cavani, and Diego Forlán, who has had a successful career in Spain with Atlético Madrid, where he won both the European Golden Shoe and Pichichi Trophy twice.

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ Football: The first Hundred Years. The Untold Story. Adrian Harvey. Routledge 2005
  4. ^ Fletcher, Paul. Uruguay 1-1 Ghana (aet). BBC. 2 July 2010.