Óscar Washington Tabárez, coach of the Uruguayan national team is presently the first on the list of football coaches with most games that have managed one national team. With Uruguay’s last match against Chile on November 15 for the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, he reaches the record hold by Sepp Herberger (167) and Morten Olsen (166) as the national team manager with the most games as national football manager with just one national team, leading a selected group with 100 games or more. This list also includes such names as Hugo Meisl, Alf Ramsey, Mario Zagallo, Helmut Schön, Carlos Alberto Parreira, Joachim Löw, Lars Lagerbäck, Bruce Arena, Berti Vogts, Guillermo Stábile, Walter Winterbottom and Vicente del Bosque.
On 25 March 2016, Tabárez surpassed Francisco Maturana for the head coach with most World Cup qualifying games in South America with 47, with the singularity that he has only managed Uruguay. Tabárez also is the fifth-ranked manager with most games at the Copa América with 26, participating in five tournaments (1989, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2016).
Tábarez totals 12 years managing “La Celeste” -as Uruguayan Football team is known- counting the two periods he was on charge of the national team. His first time was between 1988 and 1990, when he achieved the qualification of the National team to Italy 1990 FIFA World Cup and was runner-up of the 1989 Copa América.
In the world cup qualifiers, Uruguay was first on its group at a time where the South American qualifiers were organized in groups.
In the Italy 1990 FIFA World Cup la celeste was in the group E along Spain, Belgium and South Korea. They progressed to the round of 16 were they were defeated by Italy. It was the end of the first Tabarez era as a national manager after 34 games.
Between 1990 and 2006 he managed Argentinean team Boca Juniors, Italy’s Cagliari and Milan, Real Oviedo from Spain and Velez Sarsfield from Argentina.
16 years later Tabarez returned to manage Uruguay in its most successful era. After qualifying to South Africa 2010 FIFA World Cup in the fifth position having to play an intercontinental play-off against Costa Rica, the team reached semifinals, ending in a historic fourth position. After this achievement in the World Cup, Uruguay won the 2011 Copa América, held in Argentina.
The national team also reached the fourth position in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup and qualified to the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, reaching the round of 16, after defeating England and Italy in its group.
Now is in the second position in the 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.
In the FIFA World Ranking Uruguay is now placed in the 9th position.
One of the major achievements of Tabarez is that he recovered the status of Uruguay as one of the world best football teams. Uruguay won two World Cups (1930 and 1950) and 15 Copa America championships. But after reaching a fourth position in the 1970 FIFA World Cup the team entered a long decline.
When Tabarez returned to manage Uruguay in 2007 he devised a strategic plan he called “institutionalization process of national teams and education of its players”, which established a proper way of work with the national teams (under-15, -18 and – 20 and the senior team). The plan proved to be successful: the most capped Uruguayan players were part of this process.
When Tabárez is not working with the senior team he take part in the junior training sessions, motivating the younger players.
2007 | Copa América – Venezuela
In his return to the national team –after his experience in 1990, the 2007 Copa America was his first tournament as national team coach. La celeste reached semifinals and ended in the fourth position.
2010 | FIFA World Cup – South Africa
The national team qualified after an Intercontinental play-off with Costa Rica. He won Group A playing against France, South Africa and Mexico. After the unforgettable match with Ghana in quarterfinals, Uruguay advanced to semi-finals. It reached the fourth position.
2011 | Copa América – Argentina
Under Tabarez management Uruguay won the 2011 Copa America after defeating the host, Argentina, in quarters finals. In the final match he defeated Paraguay 3-0.
2013 | Confederations Cup – Brazil
Uruguay qualified for its second time to the Confederations Cup and achieved the fourth position.
Source: El País, Marca País Uruguay – Photo: Los Andes