"Hopefully this cup can come to Uruguay," said Uruguayan Alcides Ghiggia, world champion in 1950 with Uruguay, minutes before lifting up the prized trophy.
Ghiggia, author of the legendary goal that gave the 2-1 victory to Uruguay in the final of the 1950 World Cup against Brazil, which became known as the 'Maracanazo' and that even today is regarded as the greatest feat in the history football. He is the last surviving member of that Uruguayan team that was in the final.
Ghiggia and Uruguay's President Jose Mujica are the only ones authorized by FIFA to touch the trophy during its passage through the South American country.
"Hopefully this cup can come to Uruguay...I hope Uruguay gets to the final because I will enjoy it as a spectator," said the former player to reporters.
Ghiggia approached the Cup and timidly stroked the revered trophy. Then he proudly lifted the Cup amid the enthusiastic applause of those present in the hall of the Technological Laboratory of Uruguay (LATU), in which local authorities and the governing body of football presented the Cup to thousands of Uruguayans.
"It's an honor to touch this new Cup, a World Cup. I was lucky enough in the 50s to be with the Jules Rimet Cup," said Ghiggia.
The former player noted that the WC in Brazil "will be a very difficult World Cup because there are teams that people are not giving much credit" but that are tough teams.
Ghiggia, 87, participated in the World Cup draw in which Uruguay were drawn in the so-called 'group of death', where they will face Costa Rica, England and Italy.
Diego Forlan is expected to arrive in Uruguay shortly. At the 2010 WC in South Africa he led the Uruguayan team to a surprise fourth place finish and also earned the distinction of being the best player in the tournament.
Forlan, who plays for Internacional of Brazil, was delayed in his flight preventing him from attending the ceremony.
The coveted trophy
Amid tight security, the trophy will be displayed in Uruguay to some 14,000 Uruguayans selected by a global beverage company, who is sponsoring the event, to view the Cup and take a picture with it.
Since the first world championship -won by Uruguay in Uruguay in 1930- until 1970 the trophy was called the Jules Rimet Cup named in honor of an iconic FIFA president.
Uruguay will look to win their third world title after winning it in 1930 at the legendary Centenario Stadium and in 1950 in Brazil.