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Copa America

  • 24 July 2011
  • • 20:00
  • • Estadio Monumental Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Capital Federal, Ciudad de Buenos Aires
  • Referee: Salvio Spinola Fagundes Filho

Uruguay - Paraguay Preview: World Cup semi-finalists square off against side who have yet to win a game yet in Copa America final

Oscar Tabarez's men are bidding to win the Copa America for a record 15th time when they take on the winless Guarani in the showpiece final at El Monumental on Sunday

Uruguay:  Muslera; M. Pereira, Lugano, Victorino, Caceres, A. Pereira; Gonzalez, Perez, Rios; Forlan, Suarez.

La Celeste are set to welcome back Diego Perez into the line-up for the final in Buenos Aires on Sunday evening. The Bologna midfielder, who scored against Argentina in the quarter-final, missed the win over Peru due to suspension. Oscar Tabarez will also call upon Mauricio Victorino from injury after he sat out the semi-final. Controversy has surrounded the potential recall of Edinson Cavani for the showpiece, with the Napoli hitman struggling to recover from a knee injury suffered in the group stage. This has not gone down well with his club president Aurelio De Laurentiis who stated that he is prepared to take serious action if Uruguay play the unfit striker.

Paraguay: Villar; Da Silva, Veron, Torres, Vera; Barreto, Caceres, Riveros, Estigarribia; Barrios, Valdez

Paraguay have been hit with disciplinary issues ahead of the showdown with Uruguay. Coach Gerardo Martino and assistant Jorge Pautasso have both been given touchline bans and will watch from the stands in Buenos Aires. No player has been individually punished following the mass brawl that ensued after the penalty shootout win over Venezuela in the semi-final. However, Jonathan Santana will miss the final after his red card during the game. Another worry for the Guarani surrounds Roque Santa Cruz who came on, and then went off within minutes, clutching his right hamstring. Otherwise, Paraguay will revert to their strongest possible line-up having introduced four changes in their last game.

  • Uruguay, 14-time winners of the Copa America/South American Championship along with Argentina, are seeking to win the tournament for a record 15th time on Sunday.
  • The 2011 final is La Celeste's 21st final appearance, the last time they negotiated their way to this stage was in 1999 when they succumbed to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Brazil.
  • Oscar Tabarez's men secured their passage to Monumental by overcoming surprise packages Peru 2-0 in their semi-final. They had dumped out hosts Argentina on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the quarter-final.
  • Luis Suarez is currently the tournament's joint-top scorer with three goals, along with Argentina's Sergio Aguero. The Liverpool striker could become the first Uruguayan, joint or outright, to become top scorer of the Copa since Carlos Aguilera was named joint-top scorer of the 1983 edition.
  • Uruguay, now the overwhelming favourites, prevailed the last time the two nations met. Diego Forlan and Diego Lugano's goals secured a 2-0 win back in 2009 in a World Cup qualifier.
  • Paraguay are yet to win a game in the 2011 Copa America after recording five successive draws, two of which have been settled on penalties.
  • Nevertheless, the Guarani have secured a passage to the final, something they haven't achieved for 32 years.
  • Gerardo Martino's men have astonishingly only led for a grand total of 52 minutes in the tournament, out of the 510 minutes of football they have endured.
  • 'La Albirroja' are bidding for their third Copa America, having won the 1953 and 1979 editions.
  • Despite their pragmatic defensive approach to the game, this has been Paraguay's best performance at the Copa America since their previous win, bettering their fourth place finish in 1989.
  • Captain Justo Villar and defender Paulo Da Silva will win their 95th cap for their nation in the final.

Players to watch

L. Suárez

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

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The Liverpool striker sprang into life in his nation's 2-0 victory over Peru on Tuesday to propel him to joint-first in the top scorer rankings. After an indifferent start to the Copa, it is clear that Suarez has bags of potential to unsettle even the most experienced of defenders. Often a handful up front, Paraguay will have to keep him quiet if they are to spring the most unlikely of surprises.

J. Villar

Position: Goalkeeper

Games: 3

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The Guarani captain has been instrumental for his side in their surprise run to the final. A string of top-class performances in open play, coupled with a cool head and impressive saves in penalty shootouts mean that the defensive-minded Albirroja have made their last line of defence, a trustworthy one. The veteran, who shipped 5 goals in the group stages has since shut out Brazil and Venezuela, and more is expected from him on Sunday.

Editor's Prediction

La Celeste have found their feet as the tournament progressed, with Liverpool sharpshooter Luis Suarez bagging a clinical brace in the semi-final. With Paraguay looking uncertain apart front with Roque Santa Cruz's injury problems, the defensive Guarani may find it hard to pick apart the attack-minded opposition. After enduring two straight penalty shootouts, it's likely that Martino's men will overcome Uruguay.

Last Five Matches

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