Tabarez looks to cement impressive Uruguay legacy

Tabarez looks to cement impressive Uruguay legacy
Oscar Washington Tabarez will be the longest-serving and oldest coach of any of the 32 men in charge of the World Cup finalists in Brazil in June.

MONTEVIDEO - Oscar Washington Tabarez will be the longest-serving and oldest coach of any of the 32 men in charge of the World Cup finalists in Brazil in June.

Appointed to lead Uruguay for the second time in May 2006, the only coach who comes close to his longevity is Joachim Loew, who took over his role as Germany coach two months later.

And when Tabarez leaves the job his legacy will have been to head Uruguay's most successful national team since 1970 and provide a sound platform for future generations of Uruguayan players.

The 67-year-old, nicknamed El Maestro (The Teacher), led Uruguay to the World Cup semi-finals in 2010 and the country's record 15th Copa America crown in 2011.

He has successfully handled the team's transition from the World Cup four years ago to the finals in Brazil, introducing new talent while keeping the old guard fresh.

Tabarez had serious worries between 2012 and early 2013 when his team dropped 16 points out of a possible 18 in the middle of the 16-match South American qualifying campaign.

A 1-0 away win over Venezuela last June, four days before taking part in the Confederations Cup in Brazil, marked the start of their recovery.

Tabarez told Reuters the win in Venezuela was crucial to the way the team has grown over the last year.

"It was a relief to win that match and it meant we went to the Confederations Cup in a better frame of mind. We also gave Brazil a very hard time last year. I know they beat Spain in the final with more ease than they beat us. "Our motivation levels have grown since that win."

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