Venezuela goalkeeper Renny Vega has reflected on his country's fourth-placed finish in the Copa America, stating that his nation will now be taken seriously on the international stage.
Despite a 4-1 defeat in the third-place play-off against Peru, which saw Hamburg striker Jose Paolo Guerrero net a hat-trick, the Venezuelans performed well beyond expectations by reaching the semi-finals after knocking out Chile.
"We gave it our all and we now to move on and think about the World Cup qualifiers," he told Fox Sports. "We learned a lot from this last game, which taught us that no game is easy.
"People have now realised that Venezuelan football must be respected. We have to keep our heads held high and continue to work hard. I am now looking ahead to the World Cup qualifier against Ecuador.
Coach Cesar Farias admitted that his side paid for making too many errors against a Peru team, whom he felt came into the game feeling fresher and more relaxed.
"With 10 men, we were able to score but then Peru began to take advantage of our mistakes," he was quoted as saying by EFE. "We tried to come back but in the end we were the inferior team. Our organisation let us down."