Well, that's a thoroughly disappointing Copa America over and done with, then. Fortunately, the final was nowhere near as poor as many of the other matches we've seen. It was, however, a little lopsided thanks to Paraguay's improbably run past a draw that looked as though Brazil and Chile were sure semifinalists, and Uruguay's superiority shone through all game.
It's not like it wasn't at least marginally fun, though. A Nestor Ortigoza handball that the referee failed to spot denied Sebastian Coates after Justo Villar had kept a powerful Diego Lugano header out of the powerful net, but if the favourites were miffed about not being awarded a penalty, they didn't let it get to them. Eight minutes later, a flaoted ball over the top found Luis Suarez, who cut the ball back and fired in a low shot.
It wouldn't have been particularly difficult for Villar to collect had it not taken a hideous deflection off a Paraguay defender, veering out wide and bouncing home off the far post. Suarez had the decency to look slightly embarrassed about it all, but the rest of his team cared not one whit - they had the lead in the final and considering Paraguay's normally formidable strike force had been significantly diminished by injuries to both Lucas Barrios and Roque Santa Cruz, it didn't seem particularly likely that they were going to relinquish it.
Much of the rest of the half involved Uruguay setting up shop in their own territory (admittedly whilst collecting enough yellow cards to build a small house), effortlessly repulsing Paraguay's feeble attacks and answering with the occasional fairly useless counter. The best of these ended with Villar saving well from Diego Forlan while one on one, but it was clear that there were more goals from Uruguay.
They got the second not on a counterattack but from an uncharacteristic defensive error by Ortigoza, who allowed Alvaro Gonzalez to strip him of the ball near the edge of his penalty area. With no defensive cover at all to clean up the mess, a pass found Forlan in miles of space, and the Atletico striker made no mistake in smashing an absolute rifle of a shot past Villar to make it 2-0 on the verge of halftime.
The second half saw Paraguay make a bit more of a fist of things, pushing hard to cut into the two-goal deficit. Mostly, they failed to trouble Fernando Muslera, but in one instance it required an absolutely brilliant stop by the now-Galatasaray man to keep out a lovely dipping volley from Nelson Valdez, who'd been fed by Ortigoza. Muslera got the slightest of touches on the shot, enough to deflect it onto the crossbar and eventually to safety.
The game continued in a Paraguay-tries-to-score-but-can't-so-don't sort of way, even after Uruguay introduced Edinson Cavani with half an hour to go. It was a bit of an odd move, considering that defence was something that they needed more than goalscoring, but one suspects that Cavani wasn't about to put up with being stuck on the bench for an entire final, minor knee injury or no, and so he was introduced.
Paraguay added a superstar striker of their own, deploying Lucas Barrios in the final fourteen minutes. While both Cavani and Barrios were injury risks, Barrios was the more likely to end up in trouble thanks to a recently-aggravated hamstring, and the decision to introduce him cost Paraguay dear at the end. The striker was chasing down a long punt forward with Coates in close attendance before collapsing, clutching the back of his thigh. It was a hamstring injury, and he was unable to continue.
As Barrios was Paragauy's third and final substitution, they were force to play the final few minutes with only ten men. Since they needed two goals, they threw bodies forward, but that left Uruguay's attacking trident far too much space, something they exploited brilliantly with perhaps the goal of the tournament. Cavani, Suarez and Forlan linked up, taking a total of three touches in Paraguay's half before Forlan rolled the ball past a helpless Villar. It was a phenomenal way to cap off a disappointing tournament.
Uruguay, of course, won't care about how odd the whole thing was. They emerge 3-0 winners of the 2011 Copa America final, and it's difficult to deny that it was well-deserved by Suarez and company. Paraguay, on the other hand... well, they hadn't won a single match in the competition yet, and there was never any threat of them changing that streak around now.