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Jul, 25, 2011

Martino praises Uruguay strikers

Paraguay manager Gerardo Martino believes the quality and big-game experience of Uruguay strikers Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan were the difference between the two sides in the Copa America final.

Uruguay 3-0 Paraguay
Copa America gallery Photo Gallery

Suarez, who was later named Player of the Tournament, netted the first goal after just 11 minutes, while Forlan scored a brace to secure the World Cup semi-finalists a 3-0 victory and their 15th Copa America crown.

"In the first-half, Uruguay had more intensity than us," Martino said. "Apart from that, they have two very good strikers who made the difference in the match.

"Uruguay were always predominant. Even when we were attacking in the second-half we could feel that Uruguay had the match under control.

"The goals scored by Uruguay were really good moves, the definition of the Uruguayan attackers is of an extraordinary quality, and that sets the difference."

Paraguay goalkeeper Justo Villar concurred, adding his admiration for the two Uruguayan strikers.

"That was fair - Uruguay as champions - because they had a very solid team, and the attackers [Forlan and Suarez] are two lions, they are among the best strikers in the world," Villar said.

"We had good games in the beginning of the championship, but after that the team went from huge to small. It cost us because we played a very physical football. It is not an excuse but we had many injured players. We got in the final because we had guts and luck. Today in the second-half, we had the ball a lot and created chances but it did not work."

Meanwhile, speculation has arisen that Martino is set to take over from Sergio Batista as head coach of Argentina, but the Argentine claims he has not received an offer as yet.

"There are only rumours from the media," he said. "I cannot deny something I did not create. These are rumours that should be denied by those who created them.

"I am the coach of the Paraguay national team, and there are no changes to that."

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