The Copa Amércia Centenario, a special edition of the Copa Amércia, the South American Football Championship, is starting today in the USA. Normally, the Copa America takes place every 4 years, just as the World Cup or Euro Cup, but this year, the COMEBOL (South American Football Confederation) is organizing a special edition in honor of COMEBOL´s 100th anniversary and is organizing the tournament together with CONCACAF (The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football).
But first things first: I am not a football expert – far from it!
I admit that in Germany I only follow the games of the German national team and I am not interested in the German league nor the Champions League etc. I understand the basic rules of the game (offside etc.), but I don't recognize every foul or each yellow or red card and usually I only comment on the game with other self-confessed NON-experts or in a very small circle of friends.
Uruguayos are justifiably proud of their national team, after all Uruguay has only approx. 3.3 million inhabitants and an extremely small talent-pool for their players. The country also has an impressive history in football: the national team won the Olympics twice, first 1924 in Paris and then 1928 in Amsterdam. After these victories, the very first FIFA World Cup was hosted in Montevideo in 1930 – and was won by Uruguay! Also during the World Cup of 1950, hosted by Brazil, Uruguay made history: in front of a completely packed Maracaná Stadium – there were almost 200.000 people spectators – Uruguay won agains Brazil 2:1. This victory went down in history as the “Maracanazo”, the shock of Maracaná, because the Brazilians were (too) sure of their victory. Of course, you can imagine that the Uruguayos enjoy bringing up the maracanazo in conversations with Brazilians ever since.
Since I moved to Uruguay in 2010, I have to admit that I have let myself be “infected” by the Uruguayan football passion and follow all games of “La Celeste” (=sky-blue), the national team. When the Celeste plays, the whole country is on hold and watches - I witnessed this during the Copa America 2011 and 2015, the World Cup 2014 and all qualification- and friendly games.
So this coming Sunday, June 5th, at 9 p.m. local Uruguayan time (5 p.m. ET), once again the country will stand still to root for La Celeste in their game against Mexico in Phoenix Arizona and you will hear ¨Vamo´ arriba la Celeste¨ - ¨Let´s go La Celeste¨ from each pub and living room throughout the country.
Check out the song ¨Cuando juega Uruguay¨- When Uruguay plays¨ from famous Uruguayan singer Jaime Roos to get into the Copa America spirit:
P.S.: In a future post I will definitely write about Luis Suarez´ biting incident during the World Cup 2014 – just that you know I haven´t forgotten about it :) – so stay tuned!