Uruguay celebrates well into early Monday its record winning 15th Copa America
In Buenos Aires Monumental stadium the match was 2-0 with a few minutes left and Uruguay ready for a Sunday record crowning 15th Copa America when Diego Forlan scored for the second time.
It was the signal for thousands in Montevideo and the rest of the country to turn to the streets and public squares to celebrate draped in flags, faces painted, cars blowing their horns.
Celebrations extended well into early Monday as the caravan bringing the champions from Carrasco airport (20 minutes flight from Buenos Aires) crossed the capital to cheering crowds for a major welcome at a packed Centenary Stadium, where the first World Cup was played in 1930 and that is considered a national monument.
As had been anticipated Uruguay’s firepower was too much for the Paraguayan side, the two gladiators had achieved major fetes in their trail to the final: Uruguay knocked out the host Argentina with Lionel Messi and some of the most expensive players in the planet, and Paraguay had done the same with Brazil.
Both teams arrived at the final unbeaten, although Paraguay’s definitions were with overtime and penalties.
Forlán the 2010 World Cup best player, after a long ‘drought’ of goals finally scored twice against Paraguay: at the end of half time and in the last minute of the game making it a conclusive 3-0.
Luis Suarez voted the best player of the tournament put Uruguay ahead in the eighth minute when his low, left-footed shot from the right beat the diving Justo Villar and went in off the far post.
Three minutes before half time Forlan ran onto a ball from midfielder Egidio Arevalo Rios and blasted left-footed past Villar from the edge of the box.
And in the last minute Forlán completed a fine counter-attacking move, steering the ball past Villar and in off the post.
Uruguay now have one more Cup title than hosts Argentina, whom they upset on penalties in the quarter-finals, at the end of a fine 12 months following their fourth place at the World Cup. Outgoing champions Brazil, also eliminated in the quarter-finals on penalties by Paraguay, have eight titles.
Suarez scored four goals in the tournament, one less than top scorer Paolo Guerrero whose hat-trick helped Peru beat Venezuela 4-1 for third place in La Plata on Saturday.
Forlán, who won a Uruguayan record 82nd cap, equalled the national record of 31 held by Hector Scarone, (Olympic champion in 1924, 1928 and the first World Cup in 1930).
Forlan also completed a three generation family record: together with his grandfather Corazzo, his father Pablo Forlan they have all won the Copa America.
Uruguay not only received the prize to the Most Valuable player (Suárez) but also to the best young player, Sebastian Coates (20) and the Fair Play Trophy.
The Copa America is the oldest football competition in the world: the first was played in 1916, in Buenos Aires and was won by Uruguay.
In good Uruguayan multiracial tradition dating back to the first international matches with the sky-blue colours since the early XXth century, the 2011 winning team had several Afro-Uruguayan players, one of them ‘Palito’ Pereira will be joining striker Luis Suarez in Liverpool.