In Uruguay there are approximately three cows for every one person, which goes some way to explaining why a beef platter is one of the country’s most popular cuisines. No horse meat scandal there, that’s for sure.
The yellow face in the top left corner of Uruguay’s flag is The Sun of May and is designed to represent the Incan sun god. It is nothing to do with the baby in the sun during the opening to the Teletubbies. In fact the only link we can find between the nation and the popular 90s children’s TV programme involves Tinky-Winky and a shameful episode where, while touring the holiday camps of South America, he was stopped on the Uruguayan border trying to smuggle $3 million worth of marijuana and 28 Chinese criminals into the country.
The father of the Uruguayan neighbourhood is José Gervasio Artigas, a military figure who successfully fought in the Anglo-Spanish War and became a key revolutionary. As a teenager Artigas was a little scamp and there was a reward put on his head when he got involved in cattle smuggling. However with the threat of a British invasion Artigas managed to wangle a pardon and his military career began in 1797. After several successful wars Artigas moved up the ranks to Captain in 1809.
During the Age of Enlightenment and with all the political madness across the Spanish Empire, Artigas rallied his patriots and started to rebel. Six years of dodging death and fighting for freedom followed before Artigas disappeared into Paraguay. Now to celebrate the people of Uruguay get an extra day off on what would be his birthday (June 19) and the capital city is called Artigas.
Between 1916 and 1950, Uruguay were one of football’s super powers. In that time they won two World Cups, two Olympic gold medals and eight Copa America tournaments. Unfortunately thereafter things went downhill faster than David Moyes’ managerial career at Manchester United. They managed semi-final appearances in the 1954 and 1970 World Cups but Uruguay’s form was dismal and in 1998 FIFA ranked them as low as 76th in the world – not even Ireland have ever been that low.
2010 saw an upturn in fortunes however with the current crop of players dubbed the best Uruguay have had for almost half a century. They finished fourth in the 2010 World Cup and then in 2011 won the Copa America for the first time in 16 years. This was their 15th Copa America title and made them the most successful team in the competition’s history. They made a bit of a meal of qualifying for the tournament in Brazil but last time the tournament was played there they won it, so history is on their side.
Acceptable National Stereotype
A smaller, slightly quieter version of Argentina
Unacceptable National Stereotype
Angry racists who are involved in drug-smuggling and murder
Don’t be surprised if…
They help knock England out on their way to a spot in the last eight at the very least.
Odds to win World Cup 2014: 25/1