Oscar Tabarez has been fired as Uruguay’s national team coach after 15 years in charge.
Tabarez took over for a second time in 2006 and the 74-year-old earned the nickname “El Maestro” for the way he transformed Uruguayan football. The former schoolteacher holds the global record for the most games in charge of a single country with 224.
The team came the closest to recapturing the glory of their two World Cup victories in 1930 and 1950 while he was in charge. They qualified for the 2010 World Cup semi-finals and went on to win the Copa America the following year.
Uruguay had lost its previous four games in their World Cup qualification group, prompting his resignation. They are a point behind Colombia in the final automatic qualification berth and Peru in the play-off spot with four games remaining. On goal difference, Chile is also ahead of them.
A statement from the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) read: “The AUF Executive Committee informs that it has resolved to terminate the contract of Mr. Oscar Tabarez and other members of the coaching staff of the senior national team.
“We emphatically express that this decision does not ignore the important contribution of Tabarez to Uruguayan soccer. We salute and acknowledge the fundamental sporting achievements obtained in these 15 years, which once again placed Uruguay at the top of world football.
“We express our respect and appreciation for the professionalism and dedication he showed during his time in charge and the immeasurable legacy that this fruitful period leaves in the history of the national team.
“The AUF Executive Committee has made this difficult decision under present circumstances, committed to the near future and obtaining the results we all hope for.”
On Tuesday, Tabarez lost 3-0 to Bolivia in his final match as coach.