If you think England have had to wait a long time to replicate their World Cup success then consider the frustrations of Uruguayans who have only heard of their former glories second-hand from history books.
Nineteen-fifty was the last time la celestre reigned after beating host nation Brazil in front of 200,000 fans at the Maracana and since then two fourth place finishes is the best they have mustered, this despite having several great teams along the way and players of the magnificent calibre of Pedro Rocha, Enzo Francescoli, and Luis Cubilla.
This present side heading to Russia under the guidance of veteran coach Oscar Tabarez may not be a vintage one yet optimism remains high regardless that an upset could be on the cards and this South American country with a population of just 3.4 million might just go all the way. There are several reasons for this.
Firstly they are fortunate enough to find themselves in a relatively straightforward group. Sure Egypt, hosts Russia, and to a lesser extent Saudi Arabia, each pose different problems but with the firepower of Uruguay’s formidable striker-pairing of Luis Suarez and Edison Cavani the group favourites should have enough to progress unscathed.
At the back traditionally Uruguay are no-nonsense and watertight and that remains the case here with Atletico Madrid’s duo of Gimenez and Godin along with ex-Liverpool centre-back Sebastian Coates providing the steel and nuance.
But it is in midfield where the greatest encouragement lies with youthful creativity evident that was previously absent. It is this that makes the Uruguay of 2018 three-dimensional and a genuine threat to one and all this summer.
Which makes their odds for 2018 World Cup all the stranger. A dark horse Tabarez’s side may be but with 28-1 widely available it’s not surprising to learn that they are proving a popular choice with punters.
Last night Uruguay concluded their preparations with an impressive 3-0 over Uzbekistan. Conceding possession in order to best devastate on the break the side who have now lost only once in their last nine games took the lead through Giorgian De Arrascaeta before a Suarez penalty and Gimenez header wrapped things up. Overall they looked measured and domiknant. Overall they looked ready.
Uruguayans have waited an awfully long time to feel on top of the world. They might not have to wait much longer.