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Why a 96-year-old Sheffield woman will be supporting Uruguay!

Tanya Schmoller

Tanya Schmoller

Not many Sheffielders can admit to having divided loyalties when England take on Uruguay in their second World Cup group match next week.

However, for one 96-year-old woman that will be the case when the two sides meet in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

Tanya Schmoller was born in Uruguay, moving to England in the 1940s. She arrived in Sheffield in the late 80s and has lived in Nether Edge home ever since.

Tanya is one of a handful of people still alive that attended the first-ever World Cup final back in 1930 in her native country.

However, she says that her memories of the host nation’s 4-2 win over Argentina in Montevideo are not as vivid as she would hope.

She said: “I can’t really remember a lot about the game. It was a long time ago and I was only 12! I think I can recall the name of one of the Uruguay players - Scarone, if I remember correctly. One thing that does stick out though, is after the game people were carrying the Argentine flag around the streets in a coffin.

“Those days there weren’t too many teams competing but it was a big deal for the country.”

It certainly was a big occasion, as Uruguay were celebrating their centenary of its first constitution in 1830.

This was a swinging factor in FIFA choosing the country as inaugural hosts, as well as the fact they had tasted success two years previously at the 1928 Olympics. In total 13 countries competed in the first ever tournament, some way off the 32 who will be competing in this summer’s extravaganza.

Tanya, who had a successful career in publishing in England, says she is looking forward to watching her 20th World Cup and that she is still potty about the sport as she was growing up.

She said: “I used to play as goalkeeper when I was young and the first piece I ever knitted together was a football top.

“Nowadays, I watch what football I can but with not having Sky TV there’s not too many games on.”

She hopes to watch Uruguay against England in the company of her two grandchildren, and is thankful that match kicks off at the relatively modest time of 8pm as opposed to a later kick-off.

She said: “8pm is not too bad. It’s manageable.

“I’ll pencil it in my diary. I’m too old to stay up for the 11pm kick-offs though!”

As for the game between her birth country and the nation she has lived in for six decades, Tanya is adamant which side she will be rooting for.

She added: “It will be difficult for Uruguay but it all depends on whether Luis Suarez is fully fit, I suppose.

“I’ll definitely be cheering them on though!”

 

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