How it happened: Uruguay and Paraguay faced off to decide the destination of the Copa America trophy yesterday evening.
Paraguay were hoping to put the finishing touches on their first Copa title since 1979 and bring to a close a bizarre series of matches at this year’s tournament that had seen the team fail to win a match in ordinary time and score only twice from open play.
By contrast, Uruguay’s path to the final had been illuminated by the talismanic performances of their two frontmen, Diego Forlan and Luis Suarez, whose dynamism in attack did much to make Uruguay the most exciting team in the tournament.
Though Paraguay’s tendency to disrupt play seemed to augur a poor final, Uruguay succeeded in imposing themselves early on, with Luis Suarez converting a half-chance after eleven minutes. A long spell of Uruguayan dominance followed, with a Diego Forlan eventually giving Uruguay a deserved two advantage during the 42nd minute.
His left-footed strike across goal wrong-footed Villar in the Paraguayan net and effectively decided the destination of the trophy.
The second half devolved into a broken and attritional affair, with Uruguay apparently content to allow the Paraguay to dictate the tempo. With the game coasting to an anticlimactic end, Uruguay managed to put together their most impressive move of the game, with Luis Suarez cushioning a header into the path of Diego Forlan, whose one-on-one with the keeper was only ever going to go one way.
Key man: Diego Forlan might be Uruguay’s talisman-in-chief, but the player of the final (and the tournament) was surely Luis Suarez. Quick, intelligent and totally committed to the cause, the Liverpool striker’s final outing underscored his status as one of the continent’s few superstars.
What this means: Uruguay enter the record books as having won more Copa America titles than any other nation (15). With Brazil and Argentina in decline, Montevideo looks like it’s secured its status as the capital of South American football, at least until the World Cup in 2014.
One more thing: Paraguay’s loss means that Larissa Riquelme will not be getting naked.