Uruguayan Team Welcomed as Champions after Fourth-Place Finish
By Dialogo July 15, 2010
With euphoric shouts, a caravan kilometers long, and flags waving, Uruguay welcomed its team home as champions, after they finished the South African World Cup in fourth place.
Thousands of Uruguayans spent hours in the streets to wait for the passage of the bus carrying the players, defying the cold temperatures in the capital, Montevideo.
The celebration started at noon, when the athletes left their training center, and ended in the evening, at the Congress, where the team was applauded by tens of thousands and was celebrated by the government, led by President José Mujica.
Uruguay was one of the surprises of the competition, finishing the initial round in first place in its group and then advancing to the semifinals in an emotional game against Ghana, decided by penalty kicks. The team ended in fourth place after losing to Germany with a score of 3 to 2.
From the large stage set up at the Congress entrance, the players and coach Oscar Tabárez greeted and thanked the crowd, who were celebrating Uruguay’s best World Cup finish in four decades.
“We are moved, but most of all thankful, very thankful. These young men deserve recognition, but this surpasses anything we could imagine; there are no words to describe what we have witnessed today,” said Tabárez to the cheering crowd that shouted his name.
The Uruguayan president, who has a close relationship with the players, reiterated his gratitude for the way that the “sky-blue” team united the entire country.