Copa America Final 2011, Uruguay Vs. Paraguay: How Uruguay Got Here

Though the road to the final of the 2011 Copa America has not been particularly easy or glamorous for Uruguay, they've gone about their business in a much more...okay, I'll say it...deserving way than their opponents Paraguay. Like Paraguay, they haven't lost a game, but unlike Paraguay, they've showed ambition and looked capable of winning every single game that they have played in.

Uruguay got off to a slow start in their first game against Peru, drawing 1-1. Jose Paolo Guerrero surprised everyone by opening the scoring, but Luis Suarez scored the equalizer right before halftime. The second half of the game was not nearly as good as the first as Edinson Cavani and Diego Forlan struggled while Uruguay limped to a 1-1 draw.

Their second game was against a very talented Chile team, so one can forgive them for drawing again. It was once again a 1-1 draw, as two very similarly talented teams played a predictably even match. Uruguay's breakthrough would finally come in their final group stage game against Mexico, where they won 1-0 to take second place in their group, behind Chile.

They drew hosts Argentina in their first knockout stage game, and that match was arguably the best one of the entire tournament. Diego Perez scored the opener just five minutes into the game, but he was quickly answered by Gonzalo Higuain, who equalized in the 17th minute. Perez was sent off just before the stroke of halftime, leaving Uruguay to play with just ten men for the rest of the game. They did well to match Argentina in the second half, as both teams created chances but neither could score. Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera put in a spectacular performance, making a number of key saves.

Just before the game went into extra time, Argentina's Javier Mascherano picked up a red card of his own, making it a 10 v 10 game. Both teams created chances in extra time, but neither scored, sending the match to penalties. Uruguay took five brilliant spot kicks while Muslera made a great save on Carlos Tevez's penalty, giving Uruguay the 5-4 win on penalties and sending them through to the semifinals.

Once there, Uruguay got their revenge on Peru by defeating them 2-0, sending them to the third place game. Peru's defense was fantastic in the first 45 minutes, but Luis Suarez quickly took over the game in the second half, scoring two goals before the 60th minute to give his team a deserved 2-0 victory.

Uruguay will now face the best defensive team in the tournament in the final, so Suarez and Forlan will have to recreate the magic that they had at the World Cup if they want to hoist the Copa America.

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