Having only played three times for Uruguay before the World Cup, Lucas Torreira quickly proved himself a key component of the side as they reached the quarter-finals.
The midfielder's tigerish displays were indicative of a side fired by the 'garra charrua' - a phrase used in his homeland to represent their unique spirit and tenacity.
This is what Lucas told us about what it means to him:
When people think of Uruguay they think of the ‘garra charrua’. Can you explain to us what that means, what that represents?
It's a bit complicated to explain what the ‘garra charrua’ is. It is a way of living football, it is the way all Uruguayans grow up, it is the way we play football in our neighbourhoods. The ‘garra charrua’ is inside every Uruguayan. It is a bit difficult to explain.
Why is the ‘garra charrua’ so important to you?
Because ‘garra charrua’ means that we give all we have inside. We give all we have to our football, our jersey and our country. We do our best because every time we enter the pitch we represent our family and friends, the most important people for us.
How do you learn about the ‘garra charrua’ when you were growing up in Uruguay?
‘Garra charrua’ has been a term in vogue because in recent tournaments Uruguay has given people something to talk about. The way we beat Portugal in the last World Cup is a good example of it. That’s why they associate us with the term ‘garra charrua’.
How does ‘garra charrua’ come out when you are on the pitch?
That is something we Uruguayans have inside since we are young. It is about the way we feel football, the way we feel our shirt, the effort we put into each game. It is also about team spirit and many other aspects that exist inside the national team.
For example, when your team doesn’t have the ball, what does it take to get it back? Is that the ‘garra charrua’?
Yes, exactly. In our game against Portugal we had to suffer for a long time because we were tired. But that's when you bring out the energy you have left in order to get a victory.
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