Uruguay Basks in Return to Soccer Glory
Soccer means everything to once-great nation
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2010 8:43 AM CDT
Soccer fans celebrate after the World Cup match between South Korea and Uruguay, in Montevideo, Saturday June 26, 2010.   (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
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(Newser) – For Uruguayans, today’s semi-final World Cup match is more than a soccer match; it’s a symbolic return to glory, writes Uruguayan Eduardo Kaplan in the Wall Street Journal. Uruguay’s last period of soccer greatness—the country won gold at the 1924 and 1928 Olympics, and World Cup victories in 1930 and 1950—happened to correspond with a golden age of economic prosperity and social freedom. When a junta took over in 1973, the country’s soccer fortunes plummeted; it’s only qualified for three cups since.

Unfortunately, experts don’t expect Uruguay’s magic ride to last much longer. The Dutch—who haven’t been to the semis since 1970—are a strong, possession-dominating side, ESPN reports. Uruguay has relied on defense and counterattacking, but it’s missing key defenders and its most creative scorer to cards and injury. Still, coach Oscar Tabarez is optimistic. “We are at a party and a celebration to which we were not invited,” he tells the Boston Herald. But “we will enjoy it … the scoreboard has not yet been written.”