Let's be perfectly honest, anything written right now is a profound waste of time. We all know this is going to penalties.
You know when people say they don't care who wins, they just want football to be the winner? Well those people have clearly never watched Paraguay strut their stuff in the early hours of the morning. There are support groups set up for that sort of nightmarish experience. It scars you. It changes you. It never leaves you. Remember Ukraine v Switzerland in 2006? It was like that, only imagine it being narrated by James Murdoch.
Paraguay, though. They're not even trying any more. Five games, five draws, five goals scored, five conceded, two 0-0s, two penalty shoot-outs. Against Venezuela, Roque Santa Cruz came off the bench to play up front, realised Paraguay weren't going to bother attacking and decided he'd had enough after five minutes, limping off down the tunnel; (that's my interpretation of his injury anyway). In a way, you have to admire such commitment to negativity. Park the bus, remove the wheels, throw away the keys and then park another one in front of it, just to be safe. You can never be too sure.
There is, of course, a morbid curiosity to all this though. Could they really win the Copa America for the first time since 1979 without actually winning a game? The surrealism of it appeals at least, even if the method doesn't. If you're watching the match, kick back, stick this on in the background and enjoy.
But while Paraguay go for their own slice of history, Uruguay are after some as well. Win this final and they'll be out on their own as the most successful side in Copa America history. They're currently level with Argentina on 14 titles, but will edge ahead if they beat Paraguay, an extraordinary feat for such a tiny country. They're also as nerveless as Germany in a penalty shoot-out, which might actually force Paraguay to do something interesting in this match.
Everything considered, Uruguay should win. Partly because Kenny Dalglish has been wishing Luis Suarez good luck on Twitter. But also because they're simply a better side and have better players. That tends to be enough in football. Indeed Uruguay have been gradually improving since the start of the last World Cup. It's been slightly forgotten that in their first game against France – a 0-0 stinker – they were every bit the Uruguay of old, defensive, dirty and slightly overawed against average opposition. But after that, they were excellent, eventually reaching the semi-finals, which is more than Argentina and Brazil managed. Now they're in the final of the Copa America. The team is packed with some very accomplished players – remember, they're not just about Suarez – and no one should be surprised they've got this far. If they can maintain this upward curve, which is easier said than done, no one's going to want to play them in 2014.
It should be pointed out that if Uruguay do win, it will not also be a victory for Liverpool. Got it?
Uruguay: Muslera; Maxi Pereira, Luganno, Coates, Caceres; Gonzalez, Perez, Arevalo Riosm, Alvaro Pereira; Forlan, Suarez. Subs: Castillo, Silva, Godin, Gargano, Rodriguez, Eguren, Lodeiro, Abreu, Hernandez, Scotti, Cavani.
Paraguay: Villar; Piris, Da Silva, Veron, Marecos; Riveros, Ortigoza, Caceres, Vera; Valdez, Zeballos. Subs: Diego Barreto, Fernandez, Alcaraz, Caceres, Edgar Barreto, Martinez, Barrios, Estigarribia, Perez.
Kick-off: 8pm by the British Summer Time. And it really is summer out there today. Just look at that sun.
In fact someone asked me this afternoon how I was enjoying the weather. Given that I was sitting in an office in Kings Cross, I'm no longer on speaking terms with that person.
Fight! Fight! Fight! With me. "Let me be the first to point out that despite that bloody Forlan on the team, it will be a victory for Liverpool," says Tim Daw. "It just will." Is this what happens when you go this long without winning the league? Kidding!
More email action. "I still don't understand why Liverpool don't buy up Forlan as quick as possible," says Peter Yeung. "From what I've heard, he is available. Ready-made partnership and chemistry with Suarez. Not too expensive at his age, and even though he did play for United, it doesn't bother me if he does well, and I don't think it would bother him." He is available, but somehow I can't see it happening. Anyway Liverpool have £35m of British meat to fit into the team this season.
Who remembers Euro 2004? "Do you not feel a bit 2004ish?" asks Andrew Fletcher. If by that, you mean going through puberty and doing A-Levels, then you're one for two. "No one really wanted Greece to win (at least not those still awake), but deep down you were secretly rooting for them, just to see if it could actually happen. I mean seriously, winning a tournament without winning a game - that's awesome! Hope it's a good game!" At least Greece won their games without needing penalties. They were gung-ho by comparison. It's strange that a rather poor tournament had one of the best games of modern football actually. Defending completely went out of the window in this one.
The debate continues. "It will only be a victory for Liverpool if Suarez isn't too bloody knackered for the start of the season," says Luke McCaul. "I fear the phrases "knock-down" and "overhead" will become all too common in his absence."
The teams are out. Their reward for reaching the final is a meeting with
Danny DeVito's penguin Sepp Blatter. What a treat!
All players shook Uncle Sepp's hand. As this is South American football, it wouldn't have been out of place had landed a left hook on him. On to to the anthems then. "Well as much as I would love to see Uruguay maintain this upward gradient but unfortunately Diego Forlan will be 36 come 2014 and he is central to this teams fortunes," says Sandile Xaso.
Uruguay's anthem is a mini-opera. "I don't know why Liverpool would go for Forlan," says Mardia Yousuf. "Yes, he has a good partnership with Suarez, but he had a fairly wretched season for Atletico Madrid last season, and has had difficulty finishing during this tournament as well. Liverpool's issue this summer is trying to clear out deadwood, not bring in more of it. Plus, there's that whole played-for-our-bitterest-rivals thing."
1 min: And the 2011 Copa America final is underway, the kick-off greeted by a primal roar from their supporters. Uruguay, kicking from right to left, get us going. The first foul comes after just 46 seconds, Zeballos bringing down Maxi Pereira. See you in two hours for penalties.
2 min: An astonishing set of events in the Paraguay area! Uruguay really should be ahead, but somehow the ball has stayed out of the net. And so it begins. First Suarez, mischievous and lively, buzzed around in the Paraguay area after a long ball was flicked into the box. Veron and Da Silva made a total mess of dealing with it on the right side of the area, allowing the persistent Suarez to wriggle through. He forced his way through, and then nearly managed to poke the ball past the sprawling Villar. Villar did enough to deny him, and eventually the ball was deflected into the side netting. Forlan took the corner from the right and Lugano got a run on his marker, powering a header towards goal. Villar responded with a brilliant save, somehow beating the ball out but Coates was quickest to the rebound. It looked like he had to score, but his goalbound header was blocked on the line by Ortigoza's hand! The referee waves play on though, and Paraguay hack it clear.
4 min: Uruguay are well on top. That was a blatant handball and it should have been a penalty and a red card for Paraguay.
5 min: Another Forlan corner from the right has Paraguay in a flap again. Caceres darts to the near post but flashes his header wide of the left post. He should have scored.
6 min: Paraguay are all over the place. Now Suarez scampers into the area on the left. He oh-so-nearly squirms through on goal, but eventually Piris concedes yet another corner.
9 min: Uruguay have had five corners already. Paraguay are a mess. "Why on earth would Dalglish & Comolli want to sign Forlan?" says Sasu Laaksonen. "He's not English but a failed Premiership reject who would not command a big fee. Those are not the features of Liverpool player class '11."
10 min: At last, Paraguay give themselves some breathing space with an incisive break through the middle. Zeballos finds room on the right side of the area, but Coates defends superbly, although he can't prevent the corner, which is a waste of time anyway.
GOAL! Uruguay 1-0 Paraguay (Suarez, 12 min): Uruguay and Liverpool lead! Rarely has a goal been so deserved. Uruguay have started this match superbly, Paraguay have been a rabble. Given the way they have defended in this tournament though, the manner of this goal comes as a surprise though. The defending was appalling. It all came from a harmless long ball lobbed into the area. Veron won the first header, but didn't get much distance on it. After a bit of scrapping outside the area, eventually Maxi Pereira tried to volley it back into the box. His effort took a huge deflection and suddenly fell to the feet of the unmarked Suarez on the right side of the area. With a clear sight of goal, he superbly sold Veron a dummy, ducking inside and then hitting a low shot towards the right corner. His shot took a big deflection off Veron's knee though, leaving the statuesque Villar helpless as the ball spiralled into the opposite corner, but Uruguay deserve that slice of luck.
14 min: This could turn very ugly indeed for Paraguay. On the edge of the area, Forlan should play Alvaro Pereira through, but delays his pass and is eventually crowded out. "You have to admit that regardless of who else is on the pitch Suarez is a wily little dervish of trouble," says Linda Howard. "Even if it's long balls ahoy to a pogo stick Carroll there he'll be snaking around and skittering like a pest. It's beautiful."
17 min: The first booking of the evening goes to Paraguay's Victor Caceres, who dragged Suarez over in the centre circle. It's unlikely to be the last. They can't handle Suarez.
20 min: Martin Caceres stays in a heap on the ground, claiming he was elbowed in the head. A small brawl ensues after Paraguay refuse to kick the ball out, although it all calms down after a while. "Take a moment to reflect on the fact that this beautiful, massive stadium will host only second division matches for at least a year (most likely two years, in my opinion)," advises Daniel Vergara.
22 min: Marecos is left looking very foolish indeed after the slippery Suarez swivels the hips and turns away from him on the right touchline. How do you cope with this guy?
24 min: Perez, who was sent off in the quarter-final against Argentina, is unsurprisingly booked after steaming into Riveros. What a needless booking.
25 min: Paraguay's response to going a goal down has been feeble. They do know it's not going to penalties at the moment? On the pitch, the match is getting increasingly nasty and someone will get sent off sooner or later. Martin Caceres is the latest player to be booked after a crunching lunge into Vera on the right flank. I fully expect at least one punch to be thrown before the evening is out.
29 min: Muslera has had nothing to do.
30 min: Very little football has been played in the last 10 minutes or so. Instead both teams have resorted to kicking lumps out of each other. Now Maxi Pereira is booked. "Diego Forlan doesn't meet the Liverpool blueprint - he's not British, he's isn't in his early to mid-twenties, he's not one more unnecessary midfielder and he wasn't scoreless against Hull City," says Annue Newton. "Plus, he was a flop even for 'that team from Manchester', scoring only a couple times (against Liverpool). I don't see John Henry & Co's eyes lighting up at the sight of him. Liverpool needs more little Suarezes, not more forlorn Forlans."
32 min: Paraguay are yet to have a shot. Unlike Uruguay, who are only denied a second by a fine save from Villar, the only Paraguay player to have turned up tonight! Naturally Suarez started the move. With his back to goal on the halfway line, a great piece of skill helped him twist away from the lumbering Veron, who is being given a torrid time. Suarez spotted Forlan hurtling through the middle and with the outside of his right foot, he stroked a perfectly weighted pass through to him. Forlan raced away from the Paraguay defence, but Villar was out quickly to save with his feet. Uruguay could be out of sight.
35 min: "In your professional opinion - and since they invite teams as far away as Japan to compete in this competition - how do reckon England would do in the Copa America?" asks Pranjal Tiwar. Have you watched them recently? As badly as they do in every other competition.
36 min: Suarez continues to torment Veron. It's getting a bit cruel now. Maybe he could lay off him, just for a bit. On the right, Suarez turns and nips the ball through Veron's legs, before whipping a shot into the side-netting. Villar had it covered in all probability.
37 min: This is a 1-0 thrashing. On the right, Suarez knocks a pass inside to Maxi Pereira. The right-back evades a weak challenge and darts into the area, before chipping a cross to Forlan, who mis-hits his volley into the ground from 15 yards out, Villar saving easily.
40 min: Forlan's corner from the right is headed away. The ball comes to Maxi Pereira, but his volley from 25 yards out is well wide.
41 min: The referee, presumably feeling sorry for Veron, orders Suarez off the pitch for some arbitrary reason. I have no idea what's wrong. I genuinely think he wants to even it up for a bit.
GOAL! Uruguay 2-0 Paraguay (Forlan, 42 min): Uruguay are closing in on a record 15th Copa America title now. Paraguay were their own worst enemies here, stroking the ball around aimlessly at the back. Facing his own goal and with no idea what was going on behind him, Ortigoza dawdled on the ball just outside the area. The excellent Arevalo Rios was quickly all over him, and once he pinched the ball, there was an inevitability to this. Paraguay were caught woefully short as Arevalo shuffled the ball to the left for Forlan, who caught the ball perfectly with his left foot, his shot from 15 yards out whistling past the exposed Villar, who must be wondering why he bothers. What a marvellously clean strike.
44 min: The belief has visibly drained from Paraguay's players. They haven't been in this at all. The gulf in class is immense.
45 min: There will be two more minutes of this.
45 min+2: "As to whether Uruguay can continue to get better even if they lose Forlan, that's an open question," says Kari Tulinius. "Forlan hasn't been as important for the team as he was at the World Cup. In South Africa he was everywhere, with seemingly every attack going through him. While he has been a quality player at the Copa, he hasn't dominated his team like he did last year. If all the young players keep getting better, Coates, Cáceres and of course Suarez, they could be formidable in Brazil in three years." It's an intriguing prospect.
45 min+3: Alvaro Pereira, who has been relatively quiet this evening, dinks a cross into the area. Suarez tries to flick a back-header goalwards, but he had to generate all the power on the effort, and he couldn't. The amount of space he was afforded was criminal though.
Peep! Peep! And there's the whistle for half time. It's not even a contest.
Half time: Uruguay 2-0 Paraguay. Uruguay could fill their boots here. I haven't seen such a one-sided final since May.
46 min: Off we go again. Paraguay at least take their kick-off properly. To be fair, they're well-practised after that first half. Uruguay have the ball back after 15 seconds though. Well done! "For those of us old enough to remember the 86 world cup, I'd never thought I'd say this," says Espen Bommen. "Uruguay are a joy to watch. Skillful attacking entertaining football, and Suarez looks like a genuine superstar. If they could turn thing around, who knows, there might be hope for England as well. Get your hard earned cash on England, European champions 2036. Maybe 3036."
47 min: "Are Uruguay playing with 2 Suarez?" asks Sandile Xaso. Don't, you'll give Dario Veron a heart attack. "I mean he was everywhere. All that's missing is for him to play a nifty 1-2 with himself and fire a shot away in which he saves himself. Incredible 1st half."
48 min: At this rate, they'll have to award Paraguay a goal when they get into Uruguay's half. "Talking about young players, Uruguay also have Rios and Palito who have been brilliant in this tournament," says Maura Lynch. "Cavani is still young. The U-20 and U-17 teams are world class."
49 min: It's been a quiet start to the second half. It's up to Paraguay to change that; Uruguay won't care one jot. "Soar throats all around here," writes Juan from Uruguay. "And smiles of course."
52 min: Uruguay are just letting Paraguay have a bit of the ball, presumably confident they're not going to do much with it. So far, they're not wrong. Uruguay are very comfortable.
53 min: Suarez injects some life into the half and nearly sets up a second for Forlan. Victor Caceres went on an ill-judged run around his own area - will they ever learn? - and was bundled off the ball on the left by Suarez. He had Forlan all alone in the middle and tried to find him with a cross, but Veron just managed to get a toe-end on it, taking it away from Forlan.
54 min: Paraguay hit the woodwork! Where did that come from? Valdez has nearly scored the goal of the tournament, the striker so unlucky not to score with an amazing volley! Ortigoza was allowed time to chip a ball towards the striker, who was lurking on the edge of the area, just to the left. He let the ball drop over his shoulder and then struck a marvellous volley towards the far corner in the style of Carl Jenkinson. It was swerving away from Muslera, but incredibly the goalkeeper got the merest of fingertips on the shot, managing to take it on to the bar! What an effort and what a save.
57 min: Uruguay have taken their foot off the gas, although Vera has been booked for Paraguay after a foul on Caceres. "I can't help wondering what Diego Forlán would have been like in a Boro shirt had Man Utd not hijacked the transfer," says Paul Arbuckle. "As a Middlesbrough fan I'm obviously biased but I think things would have gone much better for him on Teesside. He'd have been under much less pressure to hit the ground running and would have been given time to settle in. Juninho took six months to acclimatise when he joined us (rather than Arsenal) in 1995 and was then brilliant. I think it would have been a similar story with Forlán. A couple of good seasons with Boro and then a move to a bigger club like United would have been a much better career path for young Diego. He's been a success everywhere apart from Old Trafford though he was never as bad there as some make out. Excellent player. Love watching him, Suarez and Uruguay."
61 min: The referee spares Veron's blushes after he loses the ball trying to dribble the ball out from the back. He lost it and suddenly Suarez was through, but the whistle had already been blown. It was the right call as there was a slight trip on Veron from Alvaro Pereira.
62 min: Uruguay need to wake up and Paraguay should be back in the game. Piris escaped down the right and drove a low cross towards the near post. Riveros darted across to meet it but rather than just tapping the ball home, he tried a flashy backheel and instead made no contact with the cross, allowing Muslera to claim it.
64 min: Alvaro Pereira goes off, Edinson Cavani comes on. He hasn't played for Uruguay since injuring his right knee in their group game against Chile.
65 min: Paraguay make two changes at once, Hernan Perez and Marcelo Estigarribia on for Enrique Vera and Victor Caceres.
68 min: The tricky Perez wins a corner off Caceres on the right. He takes the corner, but nothing comes from it.
69 min: For a moment, it looked the referee had awarded a penalty for Paraguay after a shove from Coates on Zeballos. Seen them given, as they say. Zeballos perhaps made too much of it though, and as he fell he grabbed the ball with his hands, so Uruguay were given a free-kick for handball.
71 min: Sebastien Eguren is introduced for Diego Perez.
72 min: This second half has been very, shall we say, Paraguay. Which doesn't work so well when Paraguay are 2-0 down.
73 min: Cavani has looked painfully rusty since coming on.
74 min: What a save from Villar! Suarez played a clever pass down the line for Cavani, who had made a good run into the area. He stepped inside Marecos, and then, trying to find Forlan in the centre, he took his eye off the ball and completely under-hit his pass. Fortunately for him, Eguren was on the scene quickly. His sidefoot took a massive deflection off the desperate Da Silva and Veron, sending the ball into the opposite direction. Despite that, Villar, who had already moved one way, managed to adjust his body and get a strong enough hand on the shot to palm it away. Suarez's persistence eventually wins a corner, but Paraguay deal with it.
77 min: Paraguay make their final change, Lucas Barrios on for the ineffective Pablo Zeballos.
79 min: Marecos steps past possibly the worst challenge of all time from Cavani, who was simply not interested at all in getting hurt. He just stepped out of the way and allowed Marecos to waltz forward. The left-back slammed his shot well over the top though.
80 min: This is turning into one of the most farcical cameos you could wish to see from Cavani. Now he throws himself to the floor in the area after slight contact from Perez, trying to win a penalty for Uruguay. The referee says no. "You are being a bit tough on Paraguay," says Seamus Lynch. "My countrymen from Ireland became national heros in World Cup 1990 when they drew 4 matches and lost their quarter final 1-0. They scored twice in about 500 minutes of football - and people are still teary-eyed with nostalgia about it. Paraguay are playing like Jack Charlton's Ireland team, making the most of a serious inferiority complex that they shouldn't really have. People also forget how awful Uruguay were against Argentina for most of their game and how the latter did everything bar score a second goal." Uruguay played well against Argentina - remember that they went down to 10 men in the first half.
83 min: "Does this mean a vicarious victory for Liverpool?" asks Greg Stringer. "Seem to recall the Scousers won Euro 2008 and the last World Cup, according to them, when Spain were simply Liverpool in disguise." I believe there's an open-top bus parade through Liverpool tomorrow.
84 min: Barrios has done his hamstring chasing a long ball. At least he lasted two minutes longer than Roque Santa Cruz did against Venezuela.
85 min: Barrios is off, meaning Paraguay will play out the rest of the game with 10 men, although it could be argued they've only been playing with one since the first minute.
86 min: Coates is booked for a handball around 35 yards from Uruguay's goal. That didn't appear to be intentional, so that's a fairly harsh booking.
89 min: Before a Paraguay corner, Diego Godin is brought on for Caceres. Estigarribia takes it, and Muslera punches behind for another. Cavani clears the second corner.
WHAT A GOAL!!! Uruguay 3-0 Paraguay (Forlan, 90 min): How fitting that Diego Forlan should put the seal on Uruguay's 15th Copa America title. And what an exquisite counter-attacking goal as well. After Paraguay's corner was cleared, Uruguay broke, Cavani set clear on the left. He had both Suarez and Forlan to pick out, and decided to pick out the former, clipping the ball to his right. Instead of taking it on, Suarez unselfishly just cushioned a sublime header through to Forlan - rather like Dennis Bergkamp's assist for Patrick Kluivert against Argentina in 1998 - and the striker strolled through and rolled a classy finish past Villar and into the bottom-right corner.
THE FINAL WHISTLE BLOWS! URUGUAY ARE THE 2011 COPA AMERICA CHAMPIONS! AND MORE TO THE POINT, THEY ARE NOW THE MOST SUCCESSFUL TEAM IN THE TOURNAMENT'S HISTORY. That was wholly deserved. Paraguay have been demolished, Uruguay thoroughly deserving winners. That was an even match for roughly 12 seconds.
In Suarez and Forlan, Uruguay have arguably the finest conventional front pairing since the Cole-Yorke partnership for Manchester United in 98-99. That third goal was a thing of beauty. There's something rather joyous about realising a team is going to score while the move is still in motion. It was obvious to me what Suarez had to do to set up Forlan, but I'm just sitting at a desk in Kings Cross.
So what did you all make of that? "Diego Forlan is now tied as all-time top scorer for Uruguay with that last goal," points out Edward Chukwurah. "Suarez is only 10 goals behind though."
"Love Suarez and Forlan. Forlan has been as ever, super classy," says Tom Ayles. "I love watching Suarez, he has been sensational this tournament but his attitude is suspect. Almost as if he is waving an imaginary card in his celebration in that pic. Good tournament, well deserved by Uruguay."
"What I'm taking from this Copa America: we all mocked that English dude who wondered how Messi would fare on a cold night against Stoke, yet it turns out it was a fair question," says Daniel Vergara. "It all depends on whose shirt Messi is wearing." Really? He was Argentina's best player.
Paraguay go up to collect their runners-up medals. Six games, five draws, one defeat. They're not going to be remembered with any fondness.
Paraguay's goalkeeper Justo Villar, who can hold his head high, is named goalkeeper of the tournament. He was exceptional and could do little about Paraguay's defeat tonight.
Diego Lugano lifts an award for fair play. Honk!
Uruguay collect their medals from Sepp Blatter. Not so clever now chaps.
For the 15th time in their history, Uruguay lift the Copa America trophy. And confetti! The new dominant force in South American football, they are worthy, likeable champions. How long does it take to get to Montevideo? Thanks for reading and thanks for emailing. Night.