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Oscar Tabarez

Latest Team: Uruguay

2014 FIFA World Cup

  • 4GP
  • 2Won
  • 0Draw
  • 2Lost


Previous Clubs/Countries: Uruguay U20s, Danubio, Montevideo Wanderers, Penarol, Uruguay U20s, Deportivo Cali, Uruguay, Boca Juniors, Cagliari, AC Milan, Oviedo, Cagliari, Vélez Sarsfield, Boca Juniors, Uruguay

Honours: Panamerican Games: 1983; Copa Libertadores: 1987; Copa Master de Supercopa: 1992; Primera Division Argentina: 1992 Apertura; Copa America 2011

With a coaching career that started with the youth ranks of Bella Vista -- the club where his unremarkable playing career as a defender had ended -- in 1980, and has since taken in 13 teams in five different countries, Oscar Washington Tabarez will be one of the more experienced managers at Brazil 2014.

Following spells with Bella Vista, Uruguay under-20s, Danubio and Montevideo Wanderers, his first big break came with the chance to manage domestic and continental giants Penarol. Tabarez took advantage right away, leading them in 1987 to their fifth Copa Libertadores title. After a short spell with Deportivo Cali of Colombia, he was offered the managership of the full Uruguayan national side.

A round of 16 finish in the 1990 World Cup wasn't spectacular by any means, but the fact that they won a match -- they'd reached the same stage in Mexico '86 without winning at all -- made it the nation's best performance at a World Cup since the semifinal appearance in Mexico in 1970. Minor success with Argentina's Boca Juniors followed, before a return to Penarol and then unhappy spells in Italy and Spain.

After a second period in Argentina, managing Velez Sarsfield and again taking charge of Boca, Tabarez decided in 2002 to take time out from management to reflect on his career and philosophies. A thoughtful man, he wanted to consider his own -- and others' -- mistakes during his failures, to better ensure success when he did return.

In 2006, he returned to the game by taking the Uruguay job he'd last held in 1990. Fourth place in the Copa America in 2007 was respectable, but what followed was probably beyond even Tabarez's wildest dreams.

Uruguay only qualified for the 2010 World Cup via a playoff, but when they arrived in South Africa, that suddenly didn't seem to matter any more. They topped a group which included the previous tournament's runners up, France, before rolling back the years in a run to the semifinals.

In 2011, Uruguay did even better, knocking out hosts and neighbours Argentina on their way to winning a record 15th Copa America title. The side didn't start the qualifiers for 2014 well, but Tabarez's experienced hand steadied the ship, and they picked their form up when it mattered to achieve qualification -- once again via the playoff.

Strengths: Always eager to learn, and always willing to identify his own faults, Tabarez is an excellent tactician and leads a stable and close-knit group of players.

Weaknesses: Although he's starting to wean Uruguay off a reliance on some of their older key players, there's perhaps still a bit too much emphasis placed on ageing legs at times.

Career high: Perhaps that Copa Libertadores win in 1987, or maybe the 2011 Copa America title. Then again, it could be leading his tiny country to within one match of a World Cup final.

Career low: A brief spell at Milan in 1996 during which club owner Silvio Berlusconi ridiculed him, at one point claiming, "I've never heard of him!" The two managers who came after Tabarez -- Arrigo Sacchi and Fabio Capello, both in returns to the club -- didn't do any better than the Uruguayan, such was the rut the club was stuck in.

Tactics: The defence is tight and the midfield balanced, allowing talented forwards -- Luis Suárez dovetailing with Edinson Cavani -- to work their magic up front. They're likely to interest rather than surprise, tactically, but will have a variety of plans to work with.

Quotes: 'Many of my working methods today came from that moment. I didn't want to work just for money, I wanted to do something different." Tabarez discusses  his self-enforced four-year absence from management between 2002 and 2006.

Trivia: Like Brazil manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, Tabárez is a qualified teacher. And like Portugal star Cristiano Ronaldo -- whose second name is due to his dad's admiration for Ronald Reagan -- Tabarez is partly named after an American president. In the Uruguayan's case, his middle name is in honour of George Washington.

Words: Sam Kelly and Nick Dorrington