Copa America Final Review: Diego Forlan Scores Twice As Uruguay Lift The Title For A Record 15th Time
Uruguay 3–0 Paraguay
12″ Luis Suarez, 42″, 90″ Diego Forlan
Diego Forlan struck twice as Uruguay crushed Paraguay to win the 2011 Copa America and score a record 15th triumph in the competition. The former Manchester United man scored at the end of both halves to supplement Luis Suarez’s opener, giving his side a victory as comfortable as the margin suggested.
Uruguay started the proceedings at an electric pace and should have taken the lead after a couple of minutes when Forlan whipped in a corner which Diego Lugano headed powerfully towards goal, but Justo Villar made a fine reaction save. The ball rebounded straight to Lugano’s centre-back partner Sebastian Coates, whose header was blocked on the goal-line by Nestor Ortigoza’s arms. Uruguay clamoured for a penalty, and although Ortigoza could not have done much to get out of the way, it was clearly a handball and Paraguay were fortunate to survive the appeals.
Uruguay continued their strong start and after 12 minutes were rewarded for their dominance when Suarez scored. An attempted volley into the box ricocheted into the air, falling towards Suarez who took one balletic touch with his right to cut inside the defender, and one with his left to finish, via a deflection. The start and end of the goal was ugly but it sandwiched a certain central beauty, embodying its finisher in a microcosm. The Liverpool striker’s penchant for unsporting behaviour is renowned, but his grace, poise and magnetic skill can stun even the most vociferous dissenters into silence.
Uruguay’s lead was doubled three minutes before the interval when Forlan lashed in the second from the left hand side of the box. The striker largely endured a frustrating Copa America in-front of goal, but when Arevalo Rios nudged the ball across, he rifled it past Villar to give his side a formidable lead.
With Paraguay having scraped and scrounged their way to the final, without winning a single match in normal-time, the odds were stacked in their opposition’s favour as the teams went back into the dugouts at half time.
When they emerged for the second half, Paraguay finally tested Fernando Muslera, and in some fashion; when Nelson Valdez launched a stunning 25-yard volley towards goal, the keeper managed to tip it onto the crossbar.
Uruguay allowed them to have more of the ball, but for the most part managed to hold them at arm’s length, and despite occasional lapses, never looked in danger.
Paraguay toiled to no avail, and the next great chance fell to Uruguay when two of their substitutes combined. Edinson Cavani, on for Alvaro Pereira, stubbed the ball across towards Sebastien Eguren, on for Diego Perez, who fired goalwards. The shot was deflected, sending it in the opposite direction, and even though it was hit from close range Villar readjusted his body to pull off an astounding stop. The keeper was consistently brilliant throughout the tournament, defying Paraguay’s opposition on their slog towards the final.
But despite Villar’s excellence Uruguay finished off their rout in the 90th minute, when Suarez’ cute headed through-ball allowed Forlan to run in and comfortably tuck the ball home.
Paraguay were deflated at the end, and despite some of their turgid performances, it was difficult not to feel anything for a side which twice held their own against Brazil and were involved in the ludicrous 3-3 group stage draw with Venezuela.
But it was Uruguay’s day, and they deserved not only the 2011 title, but also their place in the history books as they usurped Argentina’s total of 14 Copa America victories.
Copa America, The Best of the Lot:
Top Scorer: Paolo Guerrero, 5 goals (Peru)
Best Player: Luis Suarez (Uruguay)
Best Goalkeeper: Justo Villar (Paraguay)
Best Young Player: Sebastian Coates (Uruguay)
Uruguay: Muslera, Martin Caceres (Godin), Coates, Lugano, Maxi Pereira, Alvaro Pereira (Cavani), Arevalo, Diego Perez (Eguren), Gonzalez, Suarez, Forlan
Paraguay: Villar, Piris, Da Silva, Veron, Marecos, Riveros, Victor Caceres (Estigarribia), Ortigoza, Vera (Hernan Perez), Zeballos (Barrios), Valdez