Buenos Aires: Uruguay may have lost the door prize of third place to Germany 2:3 in the World Cup playoff in South Africa, but it still had a high time celebrating its national team Saturday.
While the numbers may have dropped a bit compared to past enthusiasm as their team worked its way to the top, there were still plenty of fans who donned the team colours blue and white and went into the streets to express thanks and pride in Oscar Tabarez, the national coach, and the player-heroes.
They’ll be greeted Monday with a triumphant celebration when they return home.
The re-occurring mantra of the fetes was that “it was once of the best games of the whole World Cup”.
Many saw Saturday’s game against Germany as “David versus Goliath”.
“Such a defeat wasn’t so painful,” said a fan named Diego, who watched the game with friends at an “Asado,” a typical grill festival with lots of meat and red wine.
After the final whistle, while the Germans climbed to the victory podium in South Africa, Uruguayans drove their automobiles all over the country decorated with national flags and honking their horns.
The mood had relaxed after the long series of nerve-wracking matches since the World Cup opened June 11. Even the German team merited praise: “They played much better than they did in earlier games,” a fan in Montevideo said. “Maybe they were even a little better than us, at least in terms of their conditioning”.
Uruguay’s World Cup performance, coming within a hair’s breadth of making it into the final, gave the country a huge shot of self confidence. They hadn’t reached the semi-finals since 1970, and their two championships in 1930 and 1950 stretched way back in national memory.
Within the region, the team’s performance also boosted the profile of tiny Uruguay, with only 3.5 million people. After all, the country had outplayed South American giants Brazil and Argentina.