Just a short amount of time in the presence of Oscar Tabarez would be enough to transform even a hardened cynic into a true believer in the enduring virtues of the beautiful game.
Uruguay's 71-year-old coach has seen it all.
In 1990 he led the Celeste at the World Cup in Italy, securing the national team's first victory on the big stage since 1970, before bowing out to the hosts in the round of 16.
That long overdue 1-0 win over South Korea in Udine, tantalising respite for the country's long-suffering fans, was Uruguay's last at the World Cup until Tabarez returned to the country's top job.
After 16 years at club level, working for the likes of Boca Juniors, AC Milan and Velez Sarsfield, Tabarez was not content with a token, one-off success the second time around.
Instead, he steered a squad boasting Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani all the way to the World Cup semi-finals in 2010, before sealing Copa America glory the following year.
Born in Montevideo in 1947, Tabarez grew up in an era when Uruguay's dominance of football was a tangible, contemporary reality.
Inaugural hosts and champions in 1930, they won the prize again in 1950, stunning Brazil in the infamous upset that came to be known as the 'Maracanazo' among mourning, expectant supporters of the Selecao.
#Rusia2018 será el Mundial número 21 del la historia. @Uruguay participó en 12 oportunidades. Conquistó el trofeo 2 veces, en 1930 y 1950, y logró el 4to puesto en Suiza 1954, México 1970 y Sudáfrica 2010.— Selección Uruguaya (@Uruguay) June 14, 2018
Más información de @Uruguay en los Mundiales:https://t.co/hy4hXr9ie4 pic.twitter.com/6vDm64baad
Daunting as the task may seem, Tabarez has consistently embraced the challenge of living up to Uruguay's demanding legacy.
"In the very beginnings of football, which was introduced by the British, we were really a powerhouse," he told a rapt audience of reporters at Rostov Arena on Tuesday, ahead of a meeting with Saudi Arabia in what is his fourth time coaching at the World Cup.
"Then we lost the way to transmit wisdom in football from one generation to the next. When I had three or four years on sabbatical when I didn't work in football I thought a lot about this, how we can get Uruguay with its demographic limitations, back on the map.
"And I think, modestly, we have achieved this. We are a difficult opponent. You can say we're not [recent] champions. But from our point of view, our football culture, there are very few countries like that and Uruguay is one of them, together with Argentina and Brazil in South America.
"In Europe, there is England, Germany, and Spain perhaps, but that was not the case in the 1920s and 30s when Uruguay was a powerhouse."
Being diagnosed with neurological disease Guillain-Barre syndrome two years ago has not prevented Tabarez from continuing his exemplary work, and the support of a walking stick was the only concession to his condition visible to the watching media as he oversaw training on the banks of the Don River this week.
Reverently addressed by some journalists as 'maestro', Tabarez's reminisces were triggered by a question about the images of supporters cheering the team on back home, scenes that have become far more commonplace during his tenure, now in its 11th year.
"When I see these very young kids watching the match at school, that's what we used to do, with the permission of the school authorities… they put regular classes aside for the duration of the World Cup and that helped to prevent absenteeism," he said.
"Football is a religion in Uruguay, that's how people like to win, with goals at the end of matches, and then they run out into the playground in a different way. These kids will never forget that experience and they will tell their grandkids about it.
"We have a connection now between generations. Uruguay is painted light blue. Flags, balloons, monuments, pedestrian crossings… I feel pride and I want to express this.
"If we win any other matches like we did in South Africa, I am going to get letters from ladies and they will say 'I used to hate football but now after the matches I go out into the street and hug people.' And this is part of what we do on the pitch."
Should they, as expected, see off Saudi Arabia, another trip to the round of 16 and perhaps beyond beckons, even before the final game of Group A against hosts Russia.
Football converts of Uruguay - men, women and children alike - prepare your correspondence, addressed care of Oscar Washington Tabarez, Uruguayan Football Association.
|Cardinals suspend GM Keim for five weeks after DUI|
|Dalic: I can coach Brazil or Barca but Croatia my favourite|
|Warriors coach Kerr extends contract|
|I´m ready to bust him up - Miller calls out Joshua after New York confrontation|
|CAF Champions League Review: ES Tunis and TP Mazembe set the pace|
|Mixed day for seeds in Newport as Muller progresses|
|Rams sign Cooks to five-year extension|
|Cowboys’ Randy Gregory reinstated by NFL|
|Verdasco survives Swedish Open scare as Paire is picked off in Umag|
|US Open announces record prize fund for 2018|
|Stosur wins battle of former grand slam champions in Gstaad|
|Emery is Arsenal´s best signing, says Pires|
|Brewster commits to Liverpool with long-term deal|
|Panama boss Gomez steps down after World Cup|
|No Chelsea agreement for Golovin, claims CSKA president|
|Root looks right at home as England ease to series victory|
|Brighton sign Mali midfielder Bissouma from Lille|
|Kaka backs Brazil boss Tite after ´excellent´ World Cup|
|Alaphilippe the toast in France as Van Avermaet increases Tour lead|
|Shkupi 0 Rangers 0: Gerrard´s men advance despite dour draw|
|Khazri ends Sunderland nightmare as Saint Etienne swoop|
|The Open 2018 diary: Rose lets Rio go as Rahm goes ´Lefty´|
|Lampard raids Chelsea and Liverpool in Derby double swoop|
|Balotelli returns to Nice training after Marseille talks stall|
|Owens wants to play in the CFL, says agent|
|I don´t like thinking too much - Johnson|
|Toulon president fined as French club receive suspended points penalty|
|Top of the flops - Mickelson plays exquisite trick shot over man´s head!|
|Kerber targeted Wimbledon after 2017 disappointment|
|England´s World Cup heroes given dedicated parking spots|
|Insigne prefers Messi to new Juve star Ronaldo|
|Koepka enjoys playing with a chip on the shoulder|
|Ryan Hall to leave Leeds Rhinos amid reports of NRL move|
|Hamann slams Lahm for Low criticism|
|Hart named in Manchester City squad for United States tour|
|F1 Raceweek: Leader Vettel heads home|
|Unfair to pin Brazil blame on Neymar, says Kaka|
|Thomas and friends ´want to beat each other´s brains in´|
|Woods´ love for links fathered at Carnoustie|
|Confident Rose targets tournament wins and number one spot|
|Hallgrimsson leaves Iceland post|
|Australian Open to consult players over fifth-set tie-breaks|
|Daley´s coming home - Ajax rewrite Three Lions anthem|
|Woods: Open my best chance at winning another major|
|Blind completes Ajax return from Manchester United|
|I belong at the top, says Anderson|
|Leaving Madrid was my biggest regret, Panucci warns Ronaldo|
|Folau in no rush to settle future amid Reds rumours|
|Degenkolb: I need two or three secretaries to manage congratulations!|
|Harrington v Garcia: When winning makes life tougher|
|Mafi and Timani fined by Rebels|
|Watson: Johnson and Woods can prosper at Carnoustie|
|Alderweireld hints at Tottenham departure|
|Maradona takes over as Dynamo Brest chairman|
|The Open 2018: Wounded animal Spieth is a danger to Carnoustie rivals|
|Wests´ Reynolds to miss the rest of 2018|
|Pussy Riot members jailed for World Cup final protest|
|Ronaldo capture boosts Serie A - Mourinho|
|Goals at three World Cups and 50 for the Socceroos – Cahill´s international career in numbers|
|Giroud: It´s coming home|
|Harper wins Home Run Derby in Nationals Park|
|Brighton sign Button from Fulham|
|Bolt set to trial with A-League club Central Coast Mariners|
|Thomas asks Seahawks for extension or trade|
|Walker doubts he´ll join Knicks, wants ´long´ stay at Hornets|
|Socceroos hero Cahill retires from internationals|
|Record income revenue for Barcelona|
|Kudla untroubled as Young bows out in Newport|
|Celtics still hoping to re-sign Smart|
|Villarreal sign highly rated Velez midfielder Caseres|