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.
|Munguia wins after 12-round marathon with Smith|
|Hart ready to leave City to revive career|
|Puel shuts down Schmeichel transfer speculation|
|Four-way tie at Barbasol Championship as Lincicombe misses cut|
|Lenglet happy not to face Messi|
|Tuchel keen to get PSG stars back after friendly defeat|
|Pulisic signing would interest Klopp|
|Whatever b******t you say, no one forgets – Klopp defends spending comments|
|Usyk outclasses Gassiev to make cruiserweight history|
|Pella books Cecchinato meeting in Umag, Ramanathan´s Newport run continues|
|Kisner expects nothing but exchange of ´horror stories´ with housemate Spieth|
|Inter new boy Lautaro Martinez denies Zenit in six-goal thriller|
|McIlroy eyeing early gains to apply scoreboard pressure|
|The Open 2018 diary: Spieth´s close shave|
|Salah is fully recovered and full of joy – Klopp|
|De Laurentiis accuses Sarri of trying to sign whole Napoli team|
|Lewis Hamilton explains German GP woes|
|O´Driscoll hails ´Test match animal´ Warburton|
|Spieth relishing prospect of Tiger tussle at Carnoustie|
|Sanches pushing for Bayern second chance - Kovac|
|Put on the Sunday red and enjoy Tiger´s ride regardless of Carnoustie outcome|
|Flawless Spieth takes share of Open lead after Tiger winds back the years|
|PSG´s Tuchel to be patient with World Cup stars Neymar, Mbappe & Cavani|
|Sanchez joins United tour in LA after visa issues|
|Catalans crush Salford to confirm Super League safety|
|Hamilton not giving up despite Hockenheim heartbreak|
|Spieth surges into Open Championship lead|
|Dumoulin is our biggest threat – Froome|
|Sane: Low gave me good reasons for World Cup snub|
|Tiger Woods in the hunt and loving it at The Open|
|Vettel delighted with German GP pole performance|
|Deschamps lauds intelligence of ´extraordinary´ Mbappe|
|Thomas maintains advantage as Fraile powers to stage victory|
|Woods sets clubhouse target, Kisner edges back in front|
|Bayern Munich 3 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Sanches strikes in ICC clash|
|Dost re-signs with Sporting CP after initially rescinding contract|
|Impressive Lions see off Jaguares to seal Waratahs semi|
|I´ll show Mourinho I´m ready, says United´s Pereira|
|Fognini sets up final clash with Gasquet|
|Injury ends Bouchard´s Swiss hopes, Sevastova through in Bucharest|
|That didn´t Work-u...race leader pulls up short of 3000metre finish|
|Prowling Tiger Woods on Open charge as Spieth joins leaders|
|Federer will struggle away from Wimbledon - Henman|
|Hamilton expecting tough Sunday at Hockenheim|
|Spalletti expects Icardi, Perisic to stay at Inter|
|Vettel smashes lap record to take Hockenheim pole after Hamilton woe|
|Warner targets Australia recall after Darwin debut|
|Rose: Open Sunday will be ´interesting´ after 64|
|Hamilton out of German GP qualifying as Mercedes falters|
|Pogba, Mbappe, Griezmann? Deschamps mulls Ballon d´Or contenders|
|Farah concussed on 250th Wests game as Tigers stun Souths|
|Waratahs overrun Highlanders in stunning second-half fightback|
|Rose scores record-equalling 64 to jump into Open contention|
|Moreno hails Liverpool´s recruitment drive as ´top, top players´ arrive|
|AC Milan elect new board with CEO Fassone out|
|Sri Lanka grind sorry South Africa into the Colombo dirt|
|Mina ready to reject offers for Barcelona stay|
|Guardiola tells Sane to use World Cup snub as motivation|
|Golovin´s ex-team-mate Chepchugov drops hint over Chelsea move|
|Reed & Rose make early charges on Carnoustie ´moving day´|
|Sancho ´had a point to prove´ in Dortmund´s win over Manchester City|
|Li hits back at AC Milan owners Elliott as bitter split continues|
|Crusaders cruise past Sharks to book Hurricanes semi-final|
|Rabiot would be a great signing for Barcelona – Xavi|
|JaVale McGee: Lakers are going to be ´one of the most fun teams ever´|
|Dolphins owner Ross: National anthem policy a ´placeholder´|
|Boga leaves Chelsea for Sassuolo|
|Schurrle in talks to leave Borussia Dortmund|
|Guardiola happy with Mahrez and Man City despite loss|
|Dodgers top Brewers in Machado´s debut|