Óscar Tabárez

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Óscar Tabárez
20171114 AUT URU 4562 (cropped).jpg
Tabárez managing Uruguay in 2017
Personal information
Full name Óscar Washington Tabárez Silva[1]
Date of birth (1947-03-03) 3 March 1947 (age 75)[2]
Place of birth Montevideo, Uruguay
Position(s) Defender
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1967–1971 Sud América 73 (1)
1972–1973 Sportivo Italiano 18 (0)
1975 Montevideo Wanderers 9 (0)
1976 Fénix 7 (0)
1976–1977 Puebla 29 (2)
1977–1979 Bella Vista 80 (1)
Total 216 (4)
Teams managed
1980–1983 Bella Vista
1983 Uruguay U20
1984 Danubio
1985–1986 Montevideo Wanderers
1987 Peñarol
1987 Uruguay U20
1988 Deportivo Cali
1988–1990 Uruguay
1991–1993 Boca Juniors
1994–1996 Cagliari
1996 Milan
1997–1998 Real Oviedo
1998–1999 Cagliari
2001 Vélez Sársfield
2002 Boca Juniors
2006–2021 Uruguay
2012 Uruguay U23
Men's Football
Representing  Uruguay (as manager)
Pan American Games
Winner 1983 Team
Copa América
Winner 2011
*Club domestic league appearances and goals

Óscar Washington Tabárez Silva (American Spanish: [ˈoskaɾ taˈβaɾes]; born 3 March 1947), known as El Maestro (The Teacher), is a Uruguayan professional football manager and former player. He most recently coached the Uruguay national team.

After an unassuming career as a player and after working as a primary school teacher, Tabárez embarked on an extensive coaching career which has lasted more than 30 years and included coaching teams in Colombia, Argentina, Italy and Spain. He managed the Uruguay national football team from 1988 to 1990, returning to the job for a second time in 2006. He led the team to fourth place in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, and to victory in the 2011 Copa América. With Tabárez, Uruguay qualified for four World Cups, reaching the round of 16 twice, the quarterfinals once, and the semi-finals once. In October 2017 Tabárez qualified Uruguay for a fourth time; reaching the 5th position at the 2018 World Cup tournament.

On 25 March 2016, two and a half weeks after completing ten years as the manager of Uruguay, 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 fourth-ranked manager with most games at the Copa América with 30, participating in seven tournaments (1989, 2007, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2019 and 2021). In 2012, for his contributions to association football, Tabaréz became the recipient of the FIFA Order of Merit, the highest honour awarded by FIFA.[3][4]

Playing career[edit]

During his 12-year senior playing career, Tabárez played mainly for modest clubs, representing Sud América, Sportivo Italiano (Argentina), Montevideo Wanderers (at the time when they were the first non traditional team from Uruguay to qualify for Copa Libertadores), Fénix, Puebla in Mexico and Bella Vista. He retired at age 32.

Managerial career[edit]

Early career[edit]

In 1980, one year after retiring as a player, Tabárez took up coaching at Bella Vista. There he met José Herrera, who has worked alongside him as physical trainer ever since. The following year, Tabárez was named manager of the Uruguay under-20 team. He would coach the side on two occasions. He managed the team at the Pan American Games, in 1983 in Caracas, where Uruguay won the gold medal, defeating Guatemala in the final.

Tabárez subsequently worked for various clubs in Uruguay, including Danubio, Montevideo Wanderers and Peñarol. Around this time he first met his current assistant coaches, Mario Rebollo and Celso Otero. In 1987, Tabárez led Peñarol to its fifth Copa Libertadores title after defeating América de Cali in the tournament final.

Uruguay national team[edit]

1989 Copa América[edit]

The Copa Libertadores title was fundamental in Tabárez's appointment as manager of the Uruguay senior team, in which the 1989 Copa América, in Brazil, was his first major tournament in charge. Uruguay finished in second place, eliminating Diego Maradona-led Argentina in the process, losing to hosts Brazil at the Maracanã Stadium.

1990 FIFA World Cup[edit]

After four games of qualification, Uruguay qualified for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, held in Italy. Uruguay reached the round of 16 of the tournament after a draw with Spain, a loss to Belgium and a win against South Korea. In the round of 16, however, Uruguay was eliminated by hosts Italy. After 34 games, Tabárez's first stint ended. The victory over South Korea was the first at the World Cup since 1970 and the last until 2010, also with Tabárez as manager.

Managerial work around Europe and South America[edit]

Tabárez later coached Argentine Primera División giants Boca Juniors for two years. In 1994, Tabárez moved to Italy to manage Serie A side Cagliari. After leading them to a ninth-place finish in 1994–95, Tabárez was hired by Milan. His spell, however, would only last a few months: after a Supercoppa Italiana defeat against Fiorentina at home at the San Siro, a 2–3 loss at Piacenza for the league cost him his position. He was replaced by Arrigo Sacchi, and the Rossoneri eventually finished 11th.[5]

Tabárez then worked with Real Oviedo in Spain, with the club eventually only maintaining top division status in the promotion/relegation play-offs against Las Palmas, winning 4–3 on aggregate. He then returned to Cagliari, being sacked after one draw and three losses.

After two years in Argentina with Vélez Sarsfield and Boca Juniors, Tabárez spent four years away from football management.

Uruguay national team[edit]

The "Proceso"[edit]

On 7 March 2006 Tabárez took charge of the national team for a second time, and at that time Uruguay had only qualified for 2002 FIFA World Cup since his first spell as manager as they failed to qualify for 1994 FIFA World Cup (losing to Brazil in the last match in their group), 1998 FIFA World Cup (finished 7th in the Group Stage) and 2006 FIFA World Cup (lost to Australia in the play-off). Also on the same day he presented the "Proceso de Institucionalización de Selecciones y la Formación de sus Futbolistas" (Process of National Teams' Institutionalization and Players' Growth), which established a "proper way" of work with the national teams (under-15, -18 and -20 and the senior team), reintroducing the 4–3–3 formation and setting time for players in which they can study. With the help of the Complejo Celeste, the work were facilitated upon the objectives of the Proceso. As of 29 March 2016, 10 of the 11-most capped players for Uruguay have been part of the Proceso.[6]

2007 Copa América[edit]

Tabárez's first tournament saw Uruguay finish in fourth place at the 2007 Copa América in Venezuela. In the group stage, Uruguay lost to Peru (3–0), drew with Venezuela (0–0) and defeated Bolivia (1–0). In the quarter-finals, Uruguay met Venezuela again, this time winning (4–1). After being eliminated in the semi-finals on penalties (5–4) against Brazil (2–2), they lost in the match for third place against Mexico, (3–1).

2010 FIFA World Cup[edit]

After a successful play-off against Costa Rica, Tabárez and the Charrúas qualified for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, first winning Group A (Uruguay did not win its group since 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, 56 years prior). They drew with France (0–0), beat South Africa (3–0) and Mexico (1–0). In the Round of 16 they beat South Korea (2–1). In the quarter-finals, Uruguay faced Ghana and after a draw (1–1), they went to extra time. In the last minute of extra time, a penalty kick was missed by Asamoah Gyan, after a handball by Luis Suárez.

In South Africa, the national team reached the semi-finals for the first time in 40 years, where it lost 3–2 to the Netherlands, only conceding five goals in six matches until that point. Uruguay ended the competition in fourth place, after a 3–2 defeat against Germany.[7]

2011 Copa América[edit]

In the 2011 Copa América, Tabárez led Uruguay to its 15th victory in the tournament, with the national side winning three games and drawing three in Argentina, and only conceding three goals. With these wins, Uruguay became the country with the most wins in the history of the Copa América. In 2011 and 2012, under Tabárez's leadership, Uruguay remained undefeated in 18 consecutive games from June 2011 to August 2012, a national team record previously set by Juan Carlos Corazzo. With the Copa América win, Uruguay qualified for the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup.

2012 Olympic Games[edit]

After an 84-year absence, Uruguay returned to the Olympic Games, held in London in 2012. After a victory against the United Arab Emirates U23 (2–1), the team lost the next two games against Senegal U23 (2–0) and Great Britain (1–0), marking the end of the Olympic adventure. Egidio Arévalo Ríos, Edinson Cavani and Luis Suárez were the nation's three overage players at the tournament.

2013 Confederations Cup[edit]

Uruguay passed the first stage after a 2–1 defeat to Spain and two victories (2–1 against Nigeria and 8–0 against Tahiti). In the semi-finals, they lost 2–1 against hosts Brazil and finished in fourth place after a 2–2 draw against Italy after penalties.

2014 FIFA World Cup[edit]

Tabárez led Uruguay in its qualification to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, defeating Jordan in two play-off games, and thus becoming the first Uruguayan manager to do so in two consecutive World Cups. In Brazil, after an opening 3–1 defeat to Costa Rica followed by two wins (2–1 against England, 1–0 against Italy), to finish its group stage, Uruguay reached the Round of 16, Tabárez's third time for Uruguay at the World Cup. This also marked the first time an Uruguayan team defeated a European opponent in 44 years, the last time being a win against the Soviet Union during the 1970 World Cup in Mexico. Without star striker Luis Suárez in the lineup, however, Uruguay lost to Colombia (0–2).[8]

2015 Copa América[edit]

On 19 June, the Asociación Uruguaya de Fútbol made a video tribute to celebrate Tabárez's 150 games at the helm of the Uruguayan national team. In the group stage, Uruguay defeated Jamaica (1–0), lost to Argentina (1–0) and drew Paraguay (1–1) to finish in third position in its group. Uruguay qualified as the top third-placed and met Chile in the next stage. In a game marked with the controversy between Edinson Cavani and Chile's Gonzalo Jara, Uruguay were eliminated after a 1–0 defeat. After the tournament, Tabárez was suspended for three official games for the incidents of the Chile–Uruguay match, in which Cavani was also suspended for two games.

2016 Copa América Centenario[edit]

Uruguay contested the Copa América Centenario as part of Group C, Uruguay was eliminated after its three group stage matches, losing to Mexico (3–1) and Venezuela (1–0) but defeating Jamaica (3–0).

2018 FIFA World Cup[edit]

Despite the suspension after the Copa América, and with Celso Otero assisting on the bench, Uruguay won its first two games in the 2018 World Cup qualification, the first time it had done this since the 1966 World Cup qualification, including its first ever win in La Paz against Bolivia. After the game against Chile, a 3–0 victory, Tabárez equaled Francisco Maturana as the South American coach with the most games in the CONMEBOL qualifiers, with the distinction that Tabárez has only represented one nation, Uruguay.

Qualification continued in March 2016 with a draw at Brazil (2–2) and a home win against Peru (1–0). In September 2016, after a 1–0 defeat to Argentina, Tabárez became the national team manager with the most games with one country, surpassing the record held by Sepp Herberger (167 games) since 1964. The next game saw Uruguay beat Paraguay 4–0. In October 2016, Uruguay played two games: a victory over Venezuela (the first in Uruguay for 16 years), and a draw with Colombia in Barranquilla (the first time Uruguay got a point in that city). Also, Luis Suárez tied Argentinian Hernán Crespo as the top goal scorer in World Cup Qualifications for CONMEBOL.

In November 2016 Uruguay defeated Ecuador and lost to Chile. In March 2017 Uruguay was defeated by Brazil and Peru. In June 2017 another two defeats against the Republic of Ireland and Italy led to worries about the performance of the national team. In August Uruguay obtained a draw in the Centenario against Argentina, but a victory in September (the first time ever when visiting Paraguay), returned the team to the running for the World Cup. After the game against Argentina, Tabarez told the press that he might leave Uruguay as manager because of his age. In October Uruguay played against Venezuela (0–0) and Bolivia (a 4–2 victory), which sent Uruguay straight to the World Cup for the first time since the current Qualification system was implemented and the third time in a row.

Tabárez arrived to his fourth World Cup as the oldest manager at the tournament. With his appearance, he became tied for third-most World Cup appearances by a manager and tied for most World Cup appearances by a manager of a single national team.[9] In the group stage, Uruguay defeated Egypt, winning its inaugural game for the first time since 1970. Uruguay the defeated Saudi Arabia to qualify for the next round for the third time in a row for the first time in World Cup history. Uruguay defeated Russia to win three consecutive games for the first time since 1954, and for the first time to win its group, with no goals against and no yellow or red cards. It was the fourth time that Uruguay advanced to the next round with Tabárez. Uruguay defeated Portugal and advanced to the quarterfinals to face France. France defeated Uruguay, and would proceed to win the World Cup. Tabárez became one of the national team managers with the most World Cups, and the third one representing the same team four times.

Following the tournament, Tabárez's contract expired, and its intended renewal was initially not completed due to controversy surrounding the national federation which included the resignation of its president Wilmar Valdez.[10] One friendly match in September 2018 was overseen on an interim basis by the Under-20 coach Fabián Coito;[11][12] the contract was renewed a few weeks later.[13]

2019 Copa América[edit]

Uruguay advanced to the next round after defeating Ecuador, a draw against Japan and a win against Chile. In the next round, Peru eliminated Uruguay in the penalties series. Tabarez reached 30 Copa America games, becoming the fourth in the list of national team managers with most games in the history of the competition. Uruguay ended the entire calendar year with a 13 games undefeated streak. The last time this had happened was in 1987.


After poor results in the qualifying rounds of the Qatar 2022 World Cup, Tabárez was fired on November 19, 2021, ending 15 years as coach of the Uruguay national football team.[14][15]

Achievements of "The Proceso" era[edit]


  1. First Uruguayan team to win the Copa América since 1995.
  2. First Uruguayan team to reach the FIFA World Cup semi-finals in 2010 since 1970.
  3. First Uruguayan team to qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013 since 1997.
  4. First Uruguayan team to qualify of the 2012 Summer Olympics since 1928 Summer Olympics.
  5. First Uruguayan team to beat a hosting nation at the FIFA World Cup since 1950.
  6. First Uruguayan team to beat a hosting nation at the Copa America since 1987.
  7. First Uruguayan team to win over Angola, Estonia, Guatemala, Hungary, Libya, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Russia (since the breakup of the Soviet Union), Saudi Arabia, Tahiti, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Wales.


  1. Héctor Scarone's goalscoring record of 31 goals which was held for 81 years was broken by Diego Forlán in 2011, and also Luis Suárez is now the leading goalscorer for Uruguay.
  2. Rodolfo Rodríguez's record for the most caps for Uruguay which was held for 25 years was broken by Diego Forlán in 2011 and it turn it was broken by Diego Pérez in 2012, Diego Lugano and Maxi Pereira in 2013, Diego Godín, Cristian Rodríguez and Luis Suárez in 2014, Edinson Cavani, Egidio Arévalo Ríos, Fernando Muslera and Álvaro Pereira in 2016 and Martín Cáceres in 2018.

World records[edit]

Tabárez is presently the first on the list of football managers with most games, that have managed one national team. In September 2016, he surpassed the record held 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. In November 2019 he reached the 200 games with the national team of Uruguay. The 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, Ignacio Trelles, Walter Winterbottom, Lajos Baróti and Vicente del Bosque.

Managerial statistics[edit]

As of match played 16 November 2021
Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Uruguay 1 September 1988 1 July 1990 34 17 8 9 050.00
Uruguay Olympic football team 2012 2012 6 3 1 2 050.00
Uruguay 13 February 2006 19 November 2021 194 94 49 51 048.45
Total 234 114 58 62 048.72




Boca Juniors

Uruguay Youth



Personal life[edit]

Aside from his career in football, Tabárez also worked as a teacher.[17] He has been diagnosed with Guillain–Barré syndrome, and was seen utilizing crutches during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.[18]


  1. ^ conmebol.com. "El maestro del fútbol uruguayo: Óscar Washington Tabárez". conmebol.com.
  2. ^ FIFA.com
  3. ^ "FIFA Order of Merit holders" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 5 September 2015.
  4. ^ "President FAM receives FIFA Order of Merit - FAM". www.fam.org.my.
  5. ^ "Leo avvisato: da Sacchi a Terim, al Milan o stelle o stalle" [Leo warned: from Sacchi to Terim, at Milan you either star or crash] (in Italian). Sky Italia. 3 September 2009. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  6. ^ "Away curse stalks Uruguay". FIFA.com. 28 February 2008. Archived from the original on 29 February 2008. Retrieved 7 April 2009.
  7. ^ "Khedira completes comeback". ESPNsoccernet. 10 July 2010. Retrieved 14 July 2010.
  8. ^ "Uruguay's Diego Godín: 'They kicked Luis Suárez out like a dog. It was unjust, disproportionate'". Guardian. 15 June 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  9. ^ [1] RSSSF World Cup 1930-2018 data
  10. ^ Renunció Wilmar Valdez, presidente del fútbol uruguayo, a un día de las elecciones y en medio de rumores por la filtración de audios [Wilmar Valdez, president of Uruguayan soccer, resigned on election day and amid rumors about leaking audio], Infobae (in Spanish), 30 July 2018
  11. ^ Selección: “Lo más inteligente era mantener el criterio”, dijo Coito sobre sus 25 reservados [Selection: "The smartest thing was to keep your criteria," said Coito about his 25 reserved], Futbol Uy (in Spanish), 20 August 2018
  12. ^ Uruguay golea a un México en construcción (1-4) [Uruguay thrashes a Mexico under construction (1-4)], El País (in Spanish), 7 September 2018
  13. ^ Tabárez renueva contrato con la selección uruguaya para próximos cuatro años, [Tabárez renews contract with the Uruguayan national team for the next four years], Marca (in Spanish), 21 September 2018
  14. ^ "Óscar Washington Tabárez no es más DT de la selección de Uruguay" (in Spanish). El Comercio Perú. 19 November 2021. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  15. ^ "Uruguay fires Tabarez amid World Cup struggles". ESPN.com. 19 November 2021. Retrieved 19 November 2021.
  16. ^ "Former Results". IFFHS. Retrieved 13 January 2016.
  17. ^ El Maestro seeks to restore the tradition of a forgotten footballing identity; The Guardian
  18. ^ "Tabarez: The School Teacher Who Educated Uruguay". Associated Press. 9 June 2018.

External links[edit]