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.
|Benitez tells FA to examine Zaha red card comments|
|Bjorn unsure of future after Ryder Cup|
|Tebas still optimistic over Girona-Barcelona in Miami despite RFEF setback|
|Emery promises more chances for frustrated Leno|
|Cahill considering Chelsea departure in January|
|Kaepernick to receive Harvard´s highest honour in African, African-American studies|
|Defending champion Ostapenko dumped out of Korea Open|
|Mourinho is an inspiration - Nuno|
|Witty Wilson ´delighted´ to be praised for Fisher heroics while sitting on couch|
|Burns, Denly and Stone in England squad for Sri Lanka Tests|
|Aspas reveals interest from Real Madrid, Atletico|
|Arsenal´s Mkhitaryan a doubt for Everton match|
|Klopp demands Liverpool ´stay angry´ against Southampton|
|Long-serving Tabarez signs four-year Uruguay extension|
|Injured Mendy ruled out of Cardiff trip|
|Douglas Costa out up to a month with ankle & thigh injuries|
|Slater shrugs off Feki hit amid Grand Final suspension concerns|
|Crisis? What crisis? Klopp unconcerned by Salah form|
|I didn´t convince him, he decided for himself - Guardiola says thanks to Aguero|
|Leno frustrated by Arsenal bench role|
|Joshua almost 2st heavier than Povetkin for Wembley bout|
|From salvation to the record books - Fisher revels in European Tour´s first 59|
|Lahm says Germany best for Euro 2024 as UEFA publishes report|
|Lopetegui backs Modric over Ronaldo for individual prizes|
|Goretzka to start against former club Schalke, confirms Kovac|
|Fisher shoots first 59 in European Tour history|
|Simeone defends Ronaldo after controversial Champions League red|
|Slater sees Storm into Grand Final, awaits fate over ´shoulder charge´|
|Hogg to miss Scotland´s November Tests following ankle surgery|
|Osaka through as Azarenka and Garcia crash out|
|Burgess weighing up legal options after being cleared in Rabbitohs investigation|
|Uncapped Cottrell and Gordon named in Wallabies squad|
|He´s done fantastic work - Mourinho hails Wolves boss Nuno|
|Joshua v Povetkin: No need for fireworks on AJ´s Wembley return|
|Six titles, 204 goals - Aguero´s incredible City career in Opta stats|
|Read to miss Argentina clash, Ioane brothers sign new deals|
|Pedro allays injury fears after Europa League clash|
|Dilly dilly to all the Cleveland fans! Mayfield promises further Browns success|
|Manchester United ´hell´ left Zaha depressed|
|Jackson hesitates in naming Mayfield as Browns´ starting QB|
|LeBron congratulates Browns for ending 635-day winless streak|
|Aguero Extension: 10 of the best goals from the Manchester City star|
|Aguero signs City contract extension until 2021|
|Stress from drink-driving charge may have contributed to Lloris injury – Pochettino|
|CBF backs Cruzeiro´s Dede appeal and suggests VAR investigation|
|The big Friday Premier League quiz|
|Red Sox clinch AL East with win over Yankees|
|Brighton star Knockaert reveals battle with depression|
|Bud Light beer fridges open after Browns snap 19-game winless streak|
|Browns end 635-day drought with first win since 2016 after downing Jets|
|Blue Jays overturn 8-2 deficit in improbable ninth-inning comeback|
|Colo Colo 0 Palmeiras 2: Scolari´s men poised for Libertadores SFs|
|Tour Championship would enhance successful year, says Tiger|
|Pogba: Man United getting better after winning run|
|What bothers me is that he has time to even do that – LeBron responds to Trump tweet|
|Cowboys most valuable NFL team for 12th successive year|
|Mkhitaryan aiming for glory with Europa specialist Emery|
|Sarri: Pedro´s injury is not too serious|
|This Week in U.S. Sports: Drama in Minnesota, a Judge returns and tragedy in Iowa|
|Tottenham will overcome rough patch – Lamela|
|Torreira impresses for Arsenal but leaves with knock|
|Gattuso urges Higuain to be less predictable with his movement|
|Steelers´ Brown: ´Obviously I don´t want to be traded´|
|Woods, Fowler share Tour Championship lead|
|LeBron James backs Serena Williams after US Open controversy|
|Thiem into St Petersburg quarters, but retiring Youzhny bows out|
|Wigan clinch home semi-final with win over Huddersfield|
|Can apologises following sexism accusations|
|De Bruyne expects to be back for Manchester derby|
|Celtic 1 Rosenborg 0: Griffiths late show lifts Hoops|