Uruguay chase record 15th Copa America title
Buenos Aires: Uruguay will bid to claim a record 15th Copa America, eclipsing the 14 titles won by host nation Argentina, by beating Paraguay in Sunday`s final at the Monumental.
The Uruguayans cannot compete with the success of their countrymen who won two World Cup and two Olympic crowns in the first half of the last century but, in an era when tactics are much more refined, their recent achievements are remarkable.
Having eliminated favourites Argentina in the quarter-finals, Uruguay can go one better than their old rivals as far as Copa titles are concerned.
"I think we face a great moment. After a long process of (2010) World Cup qualifiers, the (2010) finals and the Copa America it would be good to crown it with the cup," holding midfielder Egidio Arevalo Rios told reporters.
"The effort we made against Argentina was enormous but for this (final) it will be double."
The Uruguayans, fourth at the World Cup a year ago, do not want to be considered favourites even if the odds are stacked against Paraguay who are looking for their third Copa title having won their last in 1979 in Buenos Aires.
"Lots of teams started out as favourites and today they are out. It`s not a question of being favourites, you`ve got to show it on the pitch," said Arevalo Rios.
"No one started well but from the third match (in the group phase) all began to show their best form and will to win the cup. It`s been a very hard fought, even cup."
Paraguay, who have reached the final after five draws, have had a day less to prepare, featured in two lots of extra-time including Wednesday`s semi-final win over Venezuela in a second successive shootout and seem certain to lose players to injury and suspension.
Uruguay beat Peru 2-0 in normal time in Tuesday`s semi-final, striker Luis Suarez notching twice to join Argentina`s Sergio Aguero as joint top scorer on three goals.
"To have one more day`s rest is fundamental. We`ve been playing lots of matches and an extra day is key to recovering," said striker Diego Forlan who was voted the World Cup`s best player but is looking for his first international goal for a year.
Uruguay have been without Edinson Cavani, a key component of their World Cup attack, since their second group match but have been boosted by his return to training and he will at least be on the bench for the final.
Paraguay look set to be without striker Roque Santa Cruz and left back Aureliano Torres through injury and banned midfielder Jonathan Santana but central defender Antolin Alcaraz returns from suspension.
Peru and Venezuela, who began the tournament as rank outsiders, meet for third place in La Plata on Saturday (1900).