July 25 (Bloomberg) -- Diego Forlan scored twice as Uruguay beat Paraguay 3-0 to win its record 15th Copa America soccer championship and move ahead of archrival Argentina.
Forlan, the winner of the Golden Ball as the best player at the 2010 World Cup, got goals in the 41st and final minute at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires last night after Luis Suarez had put Uruguay ahead in the 11th minute.
Uruguay’s first title in South America’s continental championship since 1995 took it one clear of Argentina in 43 editions of soccer’s oldest international tournament. Uruguay beat the host and pre-tournament favorite in the quarterfinals.
“This really means a lot for me because my grandfather won it, my father won it and now I have also done it,” Forlan said in comments on the Copa America website. “Three generations have won this trophy. The name of Forlan will stay in history.”
Paraguay, the 1953 and 1979 champion, had been seeking its third title after advancing to the final without having won a single game. The Paraguayans drew all three group games and needed penalty kicks to get past Brazil and Venezuela in the quarterfinals and semifinals following scoreless draws.
Last night’s win also earned La Celeste, as Uruguay’s team is known, a berth at the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup in Brazil.
Liverpool striker Suarez put Uruguay ahead with a deflected left-foot shot that beat Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar via Dario Veron’s leg and the left-hand post. It was Suarez’s fourth goal at the 12-nation event and he was later named as the tournament’s best player.
Forlan made it 2-0 four minutes before halftime, scoring his first goal in 13 international matches with a left-foot drive that left Villar flat-footed. Forlan’s 31st goal for Uruguay tied the record of Hector Scarone.
The Atletico Madrid striker sealed the win by finishing a counterattack in the final minute. Substitute Edinson Cavani hit a cross-field pass to Suarez, whose cushioned header set up Forlan to hit a first-time shot past the advancing Villar.
“We got in the final because we had guts and luck,” Villar told the tournament website. “Forlan and Suarez are two lions, they are among the best strikers in the world.”
Of the region’s top four teams in the FIFA world rankings, only No. 18 Uruguay, with a population of 3.3 million, made the semifinals to follow up its fourth-place finish in South Africa last year.
“We wanted to show that the World Cup was no accident,” Suarez said.
Uruguay beat Argentina 5-4 in a quarterfinal penalty shootout, while Brazil’s bid to win its fifth title in the past six editions ended when it missed all four of its penalty attempts against Paraguay.
It was only the second time in the Copa America’s 95-year history that neither Brazil nor Argentina made the semifinals of a tournament in which at least one of them took part.
To contact the reporter on this story: Dan Baynes in Sydney at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Elser at email@example.com