Sunday, 24 July 2011

Uruguay win record Copa América title in Argentina

Diego Forlan scored twice as Uruguay made history tonight, becoming worthy winners of their fifteenth Copa América title in Argentina, beating Paraguay by 3 goals to nil.
Uruguay put the pressure on early in the first half, starting the brightest with 3 corners in the first 4 minutes of the game. They could have had a penalty inside the opening 90 seconds after some fine movement from Luis Suárez led to a corner. From the resulting corner a Diego Luganno header led to what seemed to be a controversial hand ball on the line from Ortigoza, however nothing was given.
Paraguay failed to apply much pressure of their own, and Uruguay took full advantage on 11 minutes when Suárez latched on to a wayward ball to score from inside the 18 yard box. Although the ball took a slight deflection on the way nothing could be taken away from Suárez who took the ball sweetly on his left foot and dragged it on to his right to finish coolly past Justo Villar.
Valdez was unlucky not to equalise for Paraguay on 15 minutes after he managed to control a high cross on the left towards goal but the ball flew up and over, and that proved to be the only worthy Paraguayan chance of the first half.
The battle within midfield was ever present, and when the ball was in the middle of the park both sides struggled to get into the final third. In the frustration each team began receiving numerous flighty yellow cards from ever ready referee Sálvio Fagundes.
Uruguay could have doubled their lead after 30 minutes when the sharp eyed Suarez picked out a lovely through ball for Diego Forlan who was denied another elusive international goal by a good save from Paraguay keeper Villar.
Forlan did manage to break that duck however on 41 minutes with a superb strike after a defensive error from Ortigoza who poorly gave the ball away to Arevalo Rios.
Rios slid the ball through to Forlan who did the rest, striking the ball perfectly across the face of Villars goal from 15 yards and into the bottom right of the Paraguayan goal.
The second half started slowly with no early signs of a Paraguayan fight back until the 54th minute when Valdez came close with a bold strike on the volley. The shot was heading in if it was not for the fingertip save of Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera to ping the ball onto the crossbar.
Uruguay took their foot off the gas to allow Paraguay back into the game for a short period of time, and they could have scored again on 62 minutes. Great play from Ivan Piris down the right led to a low cross towards the near post. Cristian Riveros met it but could only muster up a tame back heel effort allowing Muslera to claim the ball.
Paraguay could have had a penalty on 69 minutes after a shove from Sebastián Coates on Pablo Zeballos but Zeballos made a meal out of it and the referee failed to award the spot kick. Paraguay failed to capitalise on the possession they did have early on in the second half however, and Uruguay again began to retain the ball.
When Paraguay did get the ball back they failed to make it count with a host of ineffective corners, free kicks and throw-ins. They brought some of their attacking side to the game, but unfortunately it was too little, too late.
Uruguay turned Paraguayan agony to anguish in the 89th minute after a fantastic counter attack led to a third goal and a second for Forlan. Suárez headed down perfectly for the running Forlan who was left to slide the ball past Villar majestically. A special goal for Forlan, his 31st international goal, and one which takes him on par with the great Hector Scarone.
This was a thoroughly deserved win for Uruguay who outplayed Paraguay for the biggest part of the game. Uruguay now goes on to become the most successful South American nation in the Copa América ahead of Argentina who have only won 14 times compared to their 15.
Congratulations to Uruguay for a fantastic win and commiserations to Paraguay who had a brilliant tournament.

Final Score: Uruguay 3 – 0 Paraguay

Man of the Match: Luis Suárez – Scored one goal, set up another and could have had more. Showed some great skill throughout and will be a real threat in the Premier League next season.

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