The Uruguay national football team (Spanish: Selección de ftbol de Uruguay) represents Uruguay in international football and is managed by the Uruguayan Football Association, the country’s football governing body. The Uruguayan team is known colloquially as La Celeste.
Uruguay has 15 Copa América titles. They are tied with Argentina for the most titles in the tournament’s history. Uruguay’s most recent championship came in 2011. Uruguay also has four FIFA World Championships to its name: The squad has won the FIFA World Cup twice, the first time as hosts in 1930, when they defeated Argentina 4-2 in the final. Their second triumph came in 1950, when they defeated host Brazil 2-1 in the final, which featured the greatest crowd for a football match in history. Uruguay has also won Olympic gold medals in football twice, in 1924 and 1928. FIFA recognizes the gold medals won at the Summer Olympics in 1924 and 1928 as senior FIFA World Championships.
The golden era
Although the first match ever documented by a Uruguayan team was played on 16 May 1901 against Argentina, it is not regarded an official game since it was arranged by Albion F.C. at its home ground in Paso del Molino rather than by Uruguay’s Football Association. The Uruguayan team had nine players from that club and the rest from Nacional.  The match deemed Uruguay’s first official game was staged in the same arena on July 20, 1902, versus Argentina.  In front of 8,000 spectators, Argentina trounced Uruguay 6-0.   Uruguay’s starting lineup consisted of Enrique Sardeson, Carlos Carve Urioste, Germán Armalo, Miguel Nebel (c), Alberto Peixoto, Luis Carbone, Bolvar Céspedes, Gonzalo Rincón, Juan Sardeson, Ernesto Boutón Reyes, and Carlos Céspedes
Prior to 1916, Uruguay had played more than 30 matches, all but one of them were against Argentina. Uruguay faced more diverse opponents in the inaugural Copa America. Uruguay won the tournament with victories against Chile and Brazil, as well as a draw against Argentina. The next year, Uruguay hosted the competition and won every game to retain the championship. Uruguay suffered their first defeat in the Copa América in 1919, losing 1-0 to Brazil in a playoff that extended to two periods of extra time, the longest Copa América match in history.
Uruguay came to Paris in 1924 to become the first South American team to compete in the Olympic Games. In contrast to the rugged style of the European teams of the time, Uruguay played a style centered on short passes and won every game, including a 3-0 victory against Switzerland in the gold medal match. In the 1928 Summer Olympics, Uruguay returned to Amsterdam to defend their championship, earning gold again after defeating Argentina 2-1 in the final replay (the first match was a draw after extra time).
Following the double Olympic victory, Uruguay was chosen to host the inaugural World Cup, which was held in 1930, the centennial of Uruguay’s original constitution. Uruguay won all of their World Cup matches, including a 4-2 triumph over Argentina at the Estadio Centenario after trailing 1-2 at halftime. Because certain European teams refused to compete in the first World Cup, the Uruguayan Football Association persuaded other countries to respond by boycotting the 1934 World Cup, which was held in Italy. Due to a previous agreement to alternating the championships between South America and Europe, France was picked as the host country for the 1938 World Cup, and Uruguay once again declined to participate.
Uruguay won the World Cup for the second time in 1950, defeating hosts Brazil in one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history. The deciding match was place at Brazil’s Maracan Stadium. Uruguay came from behind to defeat the host nation in what became known as the Maracanazo. The shock of Uruguay’s victory required the treatment of many Brazilians after the event.
After finishing fourth in the 1954 World Cup, the team had mixed results, and after finishing fourth in 1970, their dominance, quality, and performance declined. They were no longer a world football power, having failed to qualify for the World Cup on five of the previous nine occasions. They hit an all-time low, finishing 76th in the FIFA World Rankings.
However, in 2010, a new generation of footballers led by Luis Suárez, Diego Forlán, and Edinson Cavani formed a team widely regarded as Uruguay’s best in the last four decades, capturing international attention after finishing fourth in the 2010 World Cup. Uruguay began the tournament with a goalless draw against France, then defeated South Africa (3-0) and Mexico (1-0), finishing first in their group with seven points. Uruguay defeated South Korea 2-1 in the second round, with star striker Luis Suárez scoring a brace, to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time since 1970. The match against Ghana ended 1-1, forcing the game into extra time.
Both teams had chances in extra time, but Suárez stopped the ball with his hand in the penalty area, earning him a red card and worldwide disdain. Ghana forward Asamoah Gyan missed the ensuing penalty, forcing the game to go to penalties, which Uruguay won 4-2 to go to the final four. In the semi-finals, they were defeated 3-2 by the Netherlands. They faced Germany in the third-place match, losing 3-2. Uruguay finished fourth in the tournament, their best finish in 40 years. Diego Forlan was named Tournament Player of the Year.
A year later, they won the Copa America for the first time in 16 years, breaking the record for South America’s most successful squad. Luis Suárez was named the Tournament’s Player. Uruguay was placed in Group D of the 2014 World Cup, along with Costa Rica, England, and Italy. They were defeated 3-1 by Costa Rica in their first encounter, after grabbing the lead in the first half. They bounced back with a 2-1 win against England, in which Suárez scored twice after returning from injury, and a 1-0 win over Italy, finishing second in their group and earning a berth in the last 16.
Luis Suárez bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini on the left shoulder during the match versus Italy. The FIFA Disciplinary Committee punished Suárez for nine international matches two days after the match, the longest such penalty in World Cup history, topping the eight-match ban handed out to Italy’s Mauro Tassotti in 1994 for fracturing Spain’s Luis Enrique’s nose. Suárez was also barred from participating in any football-related activity for four months and fined CHF100,000 (approximately £65,700/€82,000/US$119,000). Uruguay faced Colombia in the round of 16, but were defeated 2-0, knocking them out of the tournament.
Uruguay were ousted in the quarter-finals and group stages of the Copa América in 2015 and 2016, respectively, despite the absence of banned striker Luis Suárez. Uruguay qualified for the 2018 World Cup in Russia after a successful World Cup qualifying campaign in which they finished second. Uruguay won its group with three wins and advanced to the quarterfinals with a 2-1 victory over Portugal. However, they were defeated 2-0 by eventual champions France in the quarter-finals.